A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) is a private network of phone systems that allow you to communicate within your organization and the outside world, through Voice over IP (VoIP), Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), and analog technology. This technology used to be reserved for enterprise organizations with a dedicated IT department, hundreds of employees, and the resources to invest in expensive proprietary phone systems. However, in the years since PBX servers were first introduced, telephony has changed and advancements in technology have pushed some PBX solutions to the cloud, making deployment easier and more affordable for organizations of every size.
Of course, there may be nothing technically wrong with your current landline, but “the industry has moved away from the time-division multiplexing technology used in traditional landline systems, which has resulted in an end to research and development for these types of systems, according to Melissa Swartz, founder of the telecommunications consulting firm Swartz Consulting. In addition, Swartz said “The industry is concentrating R&D resources on VoIP, unified communications and cloud architectures.” What this means for landline users is that their systems will soon be outdated, with little to no support – making now the perfect time to switch your office phone system to a cloud PBX.
If you’re new to the world of PBX phone systems, a bit of trepidation about using one is understandable, but with a cloud-based system, there’s no hardware to install (other than your connected phones), and any maintenance and upgrades needed will be handled by your hosting company. In addition, you’ll have access to a wide range of features that your old business phone solution could never provide, such as:
- The power to connect via a variety of devices. With the power to use your mobile device, desk phone, laptop or desktop computer, to take and make traditional voice calls, video calls, and use instant message, you can stay in touch whenever, wherever – your way.
- The option to host meetings that go beyond voice-only calls. With PBX phone systems, you can, of course, host (or join) voice-only calls, but you can also hold online team meetings, live-streaming video conferences, and more – which makes it easy to connect with your team in the way that suits you best.
- Added security. With privacy becoming increasingly important, some PBX solutions offer built-in encryption (no VPN needed) to protect your text- and voice-based conversations. This way, no matter how you communicate, your employees, clients, and your intellectual property are covered.
- The opportunity to create custom apps. Along with voice calls, conferencing, and instant messaging, some cloud PBX phone systems give you the power to develop and deploy apps on all the devices you use to connect with your clients and colleagues. By having the ability to tailor your workspace for your organization’s unique needs, you can get more from your office phone system and connect in more convenient, meaningful ways.
Traditional Calling Features
Although cloud PBX phone systems offer a wide range of cutting-edge features, they also offer many of the traditional features found in most office phone system. In most cases, you’ll find that today’s PBX solutions include:
- Call history
- Speed dial
- Call transfer and forwarding
- Caller ID masking
- Hold music
- Extension dialing
- Multiple-call handling
- Simultaneous ringing
As with any new technology, there’s a learning curve, but most PBX providers not only offer training as part of their service, but give you online manuals to help you quickly look up issues and troubleshoot, and access to a dedicated staff who can answer all your questions and help smooth the transition. Best of all, as your needs change, these same experts can help you find and/or develop solutions that will satisfy them. And with little, if any, research and development happening in traditional phone systems, that’s something you just won’t get with your current landline provider.