Before the revolution of the PBX, or “Private Branch Exchange,” both large and small offices struggled to manage their phone systems. As the only means of communication to clients and customers at the time, businesses were forced to purchase multiple phone lines. Each phone line had an individual phone number, rocketing telecommunication bills for companies with many employees and departments. PBX technology served to simplify matters.
PBX systems were developed to reduce outrageous telecommunication costs by consolidating multiple phone lines to one network system to be handled and managed by the company. The PBX was created as an automated answering machine, taking incoming calls and routing them to the appropriate departments. Suddenly, callers only needed one phone number to reach any employee within the company.
While this was a major improvement in companies’ finances and efficiency, the traditional PBX is a physically wired switchboard system. The traditional PBX hardware is bulky, still expensive for the company and sometimes difficult to install and manage. Because of the cost of installation and repairs, only larger businesses utilized these early systems. Some businesses still use these out-of-date systems, although technology has continued to revolutionize the PBX system.
New and Improved PBX
As we know, technology has a way of improving rapidly over the years, and today we have hundreds of PBX systems that are available and affordable to even the smallest of businesses. While PBX systems still have the same primary job of automatically answering incoming calls and routing them to the correct extension, their function and physical form is vastly different; in fact, most of these new PBX systems are software based rather than hardware based. This means companies no longer have to purchase expensive equipment since the PBX system installer provides the server off location.
Also, there is no longer a need for maintenance or complicated installation for businesses. Beyond this, PBX systems no longer have to be connected to lines within the physical facility of a business. Now, personal phones and landlines can both be synced to the system so employees who travel can be reached through the business’s main number.
Our PBX Phone Systems
As the Internet continues to change the way we do things, there are now PBX systems that can sync with broadband Internet to utilize messaging and calling using voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP). Now, there are quite a few new terms for these PBX systems that are thrown around. Deciphering the difference between these terms can be difficult, as they all utilize the Internet and software for its function. So we consolidated these terms into a list for you. They include:
A software-based PBX phone system that routes incoming calls to multiple departments or employees through one network of phone lines.
A hosted PBX system uses the term “hosted” to refer to the utilization of the Internet in its phone management.
Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange, or IP PBX, is a system that switches local phone lines to voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP.
Cloud PBX is made available to outside users in remote locations, and with cloud services there is a greater possibility of customization.
The most important thing to acknowledge about these systems is that they are hardware-free. Traditional PBX is the only system that now utilizes on-site hardware. Some companies may still have these older systems, waiting to upgrade. Yet switching to these newer, software-based systems will save your company major money in the end. As a small business-owner, you may have hesitation to purchase a PBX system out of financial fears. But with the new virtual PBX, there are now very affordable ways to bring sophistication and efficiency to your company’s image and functionality.