About HTC Architects
HTC is a Leeds-based architectural practice serving a national client base, specialising in industrial, commercial and retail projects. The team is committed to great design, backed up by technical competence and dedication to achieving a real understanding of each client's individual requirements, from concept design to project delivery.
PSTN to digital switchover by 2026
During the course of an IT upgrade at HTC Architects, the PCM team discussed the benefits of VoIP, which uses digital technologies to deliver voice communications over Internet Protocol networks. Alongside the proposed changeover from the existing PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) to digital by 2026, which will mean all telephony will be managed this way, HTC recognised the potential benefits to their business in the wake of changed working practices emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.
Originally, HTC operated with BT lines routed through a single person in the office and transferred as required. The team needed a solution that was essentially flexible, enabling the phone system to be utilised professionally and effectively for individuals working away from the office. PCM consulted with HTC to determine their requirements and then built a bespoke system, which is available both via an app on the phones and a headset on the PCs.
Practical and flexible
VoIP has offered a number of tangible advantages for HTC Architects alongside improved levels of flexibility. VoIP is a lower cost alternative to traditional PSTN technology, making calls via an internet connection, which means the company no longer needs multiple individual telephone lines. Internet connectivity also means improved levels of audio clarity, together with advanced reliability and scalability for adding new users.
"The change to VoIP has optimised our new system of hybrid working," confirmed Jane Peace. “PCM managed the transition very smoothly for us, preparing for the changeover using screenshots with detailed information to demonstrate applications in use. We're now using a number of traditional handsets in the office, with out of office operations using mobiles and headsets."
The transition was completed in December 2021 with minimal disruption to business. Now, the process for communications is easy and quick for out of office transfers. If the person is not available, the call goes to voicemail and a message is emailed to the recipient. In addition, the phone system has been integrated into Office 365 so if the recipient is already on a call, they are marked as absent in Teams and are not disturbed.
Implementing VoIP communications technology is now helping staff working remotely to work effectively and enhance productivity.
PCM has provided our IT support for over a year. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, our working practices were shifted to a home-based model and it became obvious that we needed to rethink our communications to match these changing requirements. PCM advised us on the potential for IP telephony and implemented our new system in December 2021. It was a smooth transition from PSTN to digital, and we are now reaping the benefits in terms of cost, flexibility and adaptabilityJane PeacePractice Manager