Many businesses today rely on technology known as private branch exchange (PBX) hardware to communicate by voice. These systems not only allow the business to communicate with their customers over a public interface, they also allow for staff to phone one another. Depending on the needs of your business, companies need to assess which PBX system is ideal for their needs.
PBX System Overview
A PBX system "is the hardware that allows circuit switching within an organization's phone system." (1) Essentially, the system is a network that allows the company to place and receive phone calls from within the business and outside the business. Because the business doesn't need to maintain separate lines, PBX systems are quite cost effective. In this way, the business can have several extensions, without the need for as many phone lines. Many PBX systems provide optimum features a business needs like voicemail, call transfer, and even call recording.
Types of PBX Phone Systems
Businesses will need to decide whether to maintain their own PBX hardware on their premises or allow a third party to do so. Generally speaking, there are four major types of PBX systems. Each type might suit a particular business better than another. The idea is to understand their strengths and determine which one is the right match for the company's needs.
Traditional PBX Systems: These systems use traditional land lines to connect calls. Because these systems require a considerable amount of equipment along with regular maintenance needs, they are invariably more expensive than other types of PBX systems.
IP PBX Systems: An IP PBX is actually a traditional PBX system that has been upgraded. Although it still has a hefty start-up fee associated with its hardware, its costs are actually lower in the end, and it provides more features than the traditional system due to VoIP calling. Typically, VoIP phone systems can reduce monthly phone charges by half.
Hosted PBX Systems: Many businesses are increasingly turning to hosted PBX phone systems because they are operated off the site of the business by the VoIP provider. Instead of a large initial output of funds for hardware, the business merely pays a low fee each month for the PBX system. There is little trouble because the business doesn't have to worry about maintenance. Many small and mid-sized businesses find the hosted PBX system advantageous for a variety of reasons including its inherent cost-effectiveness. Many companies find that VoIP "can make a world of difference in your organization's business telephone systems." (2)
Virtual PBX Systems: A virtual PBX system is cloud based and operates nearly the same as a hosted PBX system. This is also an affordable communication solution for small businesses. This system may not offer all the bells and whistles that a hosted PBX system affords, but for businesses that are simply interested in the basic features of a phone system, this platform answers nicely.
1. Business News Daily, "PBX Phone Systems: Which System Is Right for Me?" http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6678-pbx-phone-systems.html
2. Ideacom Solutions Group, http://askideacom.com/products-services/digital-voip-systems/allworx/