It’s no secret that the way we make phone calls is changing. The old copper wires that have served us so well and for so long are being replaced throughout the UK, very soon becoming altogether obsolete. Whilst this digital switchover will almost certainly prove to be an exciting and overwhelmingly positive change, as with all great advancements there will be some teething issues to contend with.
Unfortunately, if your personal alarm relies on a phone line connection you will probably experience some of these issues. There is no guarantee that any of these personal alarms will be compatible on a digital network, and if they are able to connect they will offer less protection than you are accustomed to. For instance, even if you are able to connect your personal alarm to a digital line, you will not be able to make an emergency call in the event of a power cut. This is just one of the many potential issues facing those who wish to stick with their current personal alarm following the switchover.
There are other important, life-saving pieces of equipment which are currently dependent on an analogue phone line. Chances are that you have such equipment in your home right now. These can include security, smoke, and fire alarms. As with personal alarms, adapting these to work on a digital network means that a power cut could result in a potential disaster. Needless to say, this is not the kind of equipment that you should be taking risks with.
Whilst this may all sound rather frightening, the solution is simple enough. There are digital-ready alternatives for all of these products available right now so that you can avoid any potential issues in the long run. YourStride’s personal alarm is one such product. It utilises a digital network and is therefore guaranteed to work following the switchover.
Read on for all the information you need to ensure that you’re ready for the digital switchover.
The current Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) has been the bedrock of telecommunications for over a hundred years. Given this tenure, the PSTN is unsurprisingly approaching a state of antiquity.
These analogue phone lines are seeing increasing issues, with connection failures steadily rising. Worst of all, as the equipment that powers the PSTN is so old (early 20th century, according to BT), replacement parts are difficult (if not impossible) to source. These issues will continue to increase, and the digital switchover has been accelerated as a result. Quite simply, the PSTN needs to be replaced before it’s too late.
Soon, all landline calls will be transmitted via a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system. VoIP is an efficient, environmentally friendly, future-proof, and overwhelmingly superior carrier of communications. Signals will be clearer, performance will be more reliable, and it will allow for functionality that simply isn’t possible via the old PSTN infrastructure.
In fact, even as we write this, landlines are being switched to VoIP throughout the UK. A digital phone line is now typically included with a new broadband or phone line installation, with the number of people ready for the switchover increasing by the minute. If you’re still on an analogue phone line, you can expect your landline provider to contact you soon with details and timings for the digital migration.
BT announced that by December 2025 they will be retiring the analogue phone network altogether, and other providers have listed similar timeframes.
Providing you have a broadband connection and a digital personal alarm very little. When your landline has been switched to a digital connection, it should work in the same way it always has - with the only noticeable difference being that your phone lead will plug into a broadband router as opposed to a wall socket.
If you don’t currently have a broadband connection, it is expected that providers will have a number of options available for customers to choose from when making the switch. These options will ensure that nobody is forced to unwillingly take out a high-speed broadband connection to simply use a phone line.
If you don’t have a digital personal alarm, your alarm may not continue to work.
Maybe, but with a significant potential problem.
If your personal alarm is currently reliant on a phone line, there is no guarantee that it will continue to work on the new digital system. You should discuss this with your provider, as your personal alarm may need to be adjusted or reconfigured to continue operating following the digital switchover.
If you manage to get your personal alarm to connect on the digital line, it’s important that you have a back-up option in the event of a power cut. VoIP, unlike PSTN, relies on mains power. This means that you will not be able to make an emergency call if there is a power outage. To avoid this scenario, there are a few options you may wish to consider.
There may also be issues before this date. As detailed previously, in the event of a power failure your personal alarm will not be able to make emergency calls. And though battery backups may be available, these only offer approximately an hour of additional use.
This allows for much greater peace of mind with help available anywhere. It also means that users can lead an active and independent life, instead of being confined to the limited working range of an analogue alarm.
Being digital also allows for the YourStride alarm to pack additional features such as heart and blood pressure monitors, step counters, and so on, in a smart and discrete device.
If you’d like more information about YourStride’s digital personal alarm watch give us a call on 020 3868 5575, or purchase on our homepage by clicking here.