Who could forget those ear-splitting tones as we waited for our dial-up connection to successful reach the Internet? It seems like a lifetime ago as we now have broadband Internet access at lightning-fast speeds wherever, and however, we want it. The analogue network is still merrily chugging away in the background – indeed, many postage meters still use it to connect to the Internet – but it’s beginning to fall out of favour for a lot of organisations, both large and small.
It’s safe to say that the benefits of digital technology far outweigh analogue for most communications, and postage meters are no exception. Analogue and digital meters, of course, both provide you with savings over stamped mail, but as in the US, digital meters in the UK are beginning to overtake analogue in popularity. There are valid reasons for this. Here are a few particularly worth noting:
– Digital is faster
We know digital connections are faster, but did you know by how much? A dial-up Internet connection can vary from 1.2 to around 56 kilobytes per second. A digital connection is 100 megabytes per second, which could make it up to a thousand times faster than an analogue connection.
– Rate changes and software updates are simple and precise
Rate changes and software updates inevitably require preparation and attention. With an analogue meter, time is spent establishing a connection first before information can be transferred, then there is the additional need to wait for the downloading and installation of new rates for a rate change, for example. A digital system is always on, connected all the time, so rates can be sent to the meter at any time and only have to be installed.
– Digital connections are more reliable
Going back to that old analogue connection again –think how many times it would time out, and you’d have to try to reconnect. Now think of your internet connection at home – chances are it’s rare that you have to reconnect. If you don’t want to have to worry about that at home, why take chances on it in the office? If the analogue line falls down whilst trying to credit your meter before a mailing, it’s extremely frustrating and costs you time and productivity.
– Digital meters provide flexibility
Digital meters can connect via wifi or across your Local Area Network. Whether you’re mailing five, fifty or five hundred items a day your connection won’t be jostling for Internet access with your other communications technology. If you connect via wireless and switch offices, your meter can move with you. There’s also the matter of space in the office – analogue franking machines require individual dedicated phone lines. No-one wants an office filled with cables, especially now we have VOIP phones and mobiles.
– Digitally-connected meters generate savings
As mentioned above, an analogue-connected meter requires a dedicated phone line. Many organisations are already paying for broadband, so there is no additional cost for a digital meter connection.
– Digitally-connected meters are futureproof
The copper analogue network is costly to maintain and vulnerable to service outages, and service providers are likely to become less willing to provide and support analogue connections. Digitally-connected meters remove this concern.
As everything from cars to fridges are digitally connected, it’s easy to see the benefits of digital meters, and understand their place in our world. Analogue, too, has its share of supporters and there are many organisations for whom it is a viable and effective option. But in our digital age, we need to keep up with the demands of our customers. Ultimately, it is they who will drive our decision, and that is exactly how it should be.