PBX stands for private branch exchange. The very first PBX system involved a single human operator who received and directed calls for a business. Phone traffic was handled by a common carrier until it reached the operator, who then routed phone traffic to individual phone extensions. Modernly, this is done electronically—and extensions can include fax machines, modems and cell phones, as well as individual lines. Businesses prefer PBX systems because they are far less expensive and more efficient than having multiple lines from ATT or another public provider. Most PBX systems provide for VoIP (voice over internet protocol), which in this context is referred to as IP PBX (internet protocol private branch exchange).
The best PBX systems are the ones that meet your needs. Ideally, it should bring your voice, videoconferencing, cellular, data, instant messaging and other business communications within a single network that employees can easily access remotely. When considering what PX systems best meet you needs, it helps to think of features that your company must have. Your vendor should be able to report on call answering features, call management features, call screening features, intercom, call paging and menu-driven systems. In addition to these obvious features, voicemail to email, interactive desktop alerts, private enterprise chat, real-time employee status and others can boost productivity.
In addition to providing switches and routers, Cisco also provides IP PBX systems for both small and large enterprises. Their small business package, called “Systems Unified Communications Manager Express,” is an offshoot of their larger “Systems Unified Communications Manager” which can handle up to 80,000 users. Both are feature-rich, robust systems that effectively handle all communications needs.
The Nortel Meridian PBX system used to be the most widely used in the world. However, just as the breakup of Ma Bell saw the emergence of competitive baby bell providers, the bankruptcy of Nortel brought a crop of new PBX providers. Some of the more reputable include Mitel, Avaya, 8x8, Inc., Talkswitch and Fonality. If you are working with a consultant, he or she should be able to discuss the pros and cons of how these systems fit your company needs. While the initial cost outlay for a new PBX system might seem extreme, especially if this is the first time you have contracted for such a service, it rapidly saves money on expensive phone bills for multiple communication products.
It was a painstaking process, but to help B2B companies start 2017 off on the right foot, we recently compiled a comparative list of the top 34 business phone vendors in the world. In one, easy-to-reference location, we’ve neatly outlined the information you need. more
Many businesses rely on a collection of communication tools that they adopt to address specific needs as they arise. This strategy may seem to work in the beginning, but eventually will lead to a system that is cumbersome to use, difficult to explain to new hires, expensive, and effective in some areas, but full of gaps. more
Signing up with a VoIP provider is a major business decision that will affect your internal communications, customer service, and communications with business partners. The decision can be a difficult one; choosing the wrong VoIP provider can cost a business hundreds of thousands of dollars. more
Unified Communications (UC) is a new concept that is revolutionizing business communications. Every year, more and more companies are ditching their traditional PBX systems for a UC solution. But before you make the move, it’s critical to understand how UC will affect your workplace and employees. more
VoIP phone systems and mobile apps are becoming very popular for business use and are helping companies streamline their business communications on the go, while reducing costs. In fact, according to a study by Infonetics Research, VoIP subscribership has been growing at a rate of approximately 14%, year over year, each year since 2009. more