TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Using a 608

Re: Using a 608

Sat, 12 Aug 2006 11:06:00 -0400

> I would not call the 608 "dated", it was the most advanced cord board
> the Bell System offered. There were plenty of older models in service
> in those years. I think what killed the cord board was economics--the
> cost of purchasing and maintaining electronics -- like the Dimension
> PBX -- came down enough that they were competitive with cord boards.
> With all its automation, I don't think the 608 was cheap.

> A big disadvantage of cord boards was that they required two
> operations per call while a console required only one. With cord
> boards, you had to pull the cords down at the end of the call, a
> console disconnected automatically.

The economics against a cord board were/are huge. With these there is
a very large number of mechanical parts that could and would wear out
over time. With electronic systems most of the mechanics at the board
were replaced by electronics inside the PBX. And the electronics
didn't have the "wear and tear" of the board. The switch board console
turned into a relatively cheap (compared to a cord board) device. So
if it broke you'd typically just replace the entire thing. Maybe with
a credit for the old unit which would be repaired at a depot and put
back on the shelf as a repair part.

So the entire economics of the sale and ongoing operations changed.
Which upset a lot of sales plans, sales reps, service contracts, and
union technicians. Which is why much of the savings customers might
expect with the new technology takes years to show up. Sometimes it
takes a generation for the old staff to "age" out and some times it
takes a new entrant without a past before the economics change. In
computers mini-computers did this to mainframes and PCs did it to
both. Much of IBM's problems of the 80s and 90s were caused by the
inability of the existing work force to adapt to these new
economics. Ditto the airlines and deregulation.

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