On 7th June 1989 John Gillborn quietly registered a company i.C.S. 1989 limited at his mum’s house in Windsor. Today iCS celebrates its 29th birthday as a company that has over 300 years of service from the current staff in the past 29 years.
i.C.S. 1989 Limited was set up just 5 years after the liberalisation of the UK telecoms industry, mobile phones were still expensive, and a phone call cost, on a large car phone adapted to be mobile with the addition of a large battery, 33p per minute inside the M25 and 25p outside. The yuppy was about, the Porsche 911 was the car to have, and the “Big Bang” in the city had only just happened less than 3 years previously.
ISDN was not in widespread use, telephone systems were being sold frantically after the new Telecoms act opened the floodgates of the UK market to any manufacturer. Many businesses had 2 phone systems installed; an internal system and an external PBX system, and you lifted the handset and a buzzer buzzed on the operator console and they gave you a line for your call. Liberalisation had accelerated the sale of the new wave of systems and in those days few manufacturers existed. iCS sold Panasonic systems in the early days and still do today. It’s a brand we love and still admire. Many early systems are still in day-to-day use and have been for 25+ years, the systems we bought from an Egham based distributor on John’s credit card and drove down to collect each system, we sold! Since 1998 we have worked directly with this manufacturer and can order up to 6pm for a 9am next day delivery, “just in time” is the norm in 2018.
The Dot com bubble and the Millennium bug gave sales a lift of these products and we adopted new manufacturers such as Network Alchemy. This saw the early incarnation of the Avaya IP office and we rode the wave of installing and maintaining these systems into the early 2000’s. Today we still work with the founders of Network Alchemy selling their 2nd system they designed and built called Splicecom. This product is a great British designed product and they are the only British manufacturer left. We also work with Avaya and the IP office platform, hosted platforms from Gamma and MyPhones, along with the new wave of second generation hosted platforms such as the innovative TelcoSwitch platform.
By comparison, today your “box of tricks” or system brain may be a box bolted to the wall in the office, living on a virtual server on the office server or a in some data centre miles away from your office in a Cold War looking Warehouse on an Industrial Estate outside London, or a former US missile bunker on an airfield.
iCS have continually over the years regularly checked the products we supply and have always investigated and adopted the best of breed and disruptive products and services to the portfolio to continually meet the changing needs of the market and customer’s needs.
Mobiles now have data and businesses consume massive amounts of data over fixed internet connections or over 4G and 5G in less than 18 months and we talk about “dog years” now as technology moves faster and faster. A dog year means technology moves on 7 years in a single 12-month period. Where will it end and with the introduction of GDPR will we see more people chasing to talk to people and build rapport?
All our success would not have been possible without the efforts of all the staff giving our customers great service and advice at the time we deliver their new solution, and ongoing during the long-life expectancy of these products. Our loyal customers are an important part of the business and John and the senior team still try to reach and meet as many customers each year to keep the personal touch.
Where will we be in another 10 years? One thing is for sure we will still be arranging the iCS quarterly “Friday nights out,” thanks Will! We all enjoy a few drinks, relaxing together and interacting with colleagues whilst exchanging ideas and experiences.
See you at the next one!