The history of human communication is a fascinating journey. It started from very basic forms and progressed to sophisticated systems. We now have information at the tip of our fingers. It’s challenging to fathom the days when messenger pigeons were a means of communication. For younger generations, even the traditional landline phone is a mystery. Adorned with its sizable rotary dial, it appears like a relic from a history book. So what is a PBX phone system? And how do Unified Communications platforms enhance our professional lives today?
Such questions might not have even crossed your mind simply because the intricacies behind a phone call often go unnoticed. In this article, we shall nevertheless address them all. Let’s go.
From drum beats to Unified Communications
Let us begin with a concise overview of significant communication milestones. We’ll start from smoke signals and go all the way through modern data signaling.
In order to convey messages, early humans used non-verbal communication methods. Smoke signals, pictograms, drum beats, body language and gestures, hand signals, artifacts or cave paintings. Such methods were used due to the absence of written language and formalized spoken languages.
All these prehistoric communication methods were essential for survival. They allowed early humans to:
- Share information about their environment
- Coordinate activities
- Express social and cultural aspects of their communities
Indeed, they may seem basic compared to modern methods. However, they laid the foundation for the development of more sophisticated languages and communication systems over time.
The development of written languages marked a significant advancement. The cuneiform in Mesopotamia and hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt allowed for more complex and lasting communication. Thanks to written communication, we now know more about our ancestors.
Messengers and postal systems
Next, civilizations established postal systems. Messengers on foot or horseback carried written messages over long distances. Even if it took a while, information started to travel.
The invention of the telegraph in the 19th century revolutionized communications. Samuel Morse’s Morse Code enabled rapid long-distance messaging via electrical signals.
And then came Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1876. This allowed for voice communication over electrical lines, transforming the way people interacted.
Radio and television
The 20th century witnessed the rise of radio and television. The reach of information and entertainment expanded to global audiences.
The advent of computers and the internet introduced a new era of communication. Email, instant messaging, and early forms of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems became prevalent.
The PBX phone systems
A few decades ago, companies could set up phone lines for employees at their desks. They didn’t have to worry about cell phones or remote work. The only time an employee made a work call was when they used their dedicated phone at the office.
As businesses adopted digital communication, telephone systems underwent a major transformation. We finally moved away from bulky and difficult to use equipment. IP PBX systems emerged as a cost-effective and feature-rich communications alternative. They utilize internet protocols for voice and data transmission.
The widespread adoption of mobile phones brought about a revolutionary shift. They enabled people to communicate through wireless devices and granted quick access to information. And this huge advantage has spoiled us a lot! 🙂
Today, Unified Communications (UC) integrates various communication channels. It includes voice, video, and instant messaging into one unified platform. And IP PBX systems often serve as a core component of UC.
So, what does PBX stand for?
The PBX acronym comes from Private Branch Exchange. An IP PBX platform is a telecommunication system used by an organization to manage incoming and outgoing phone calls.
It serves as a private network that allows internal users to communicate with each other. Also, it connects to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) for external communication.
What is a PBX phone system?
In a traditional PBX system, physical equipment is installed on the premises of the organization. This way, it facilitates call routing and switching. With advancements in technology, many businesses are now adopting virtual PBX systems. These Cloud systems eliminate the need for on-site hardware and give users the freedom to choose their service providers.
With this telephone network, you can make sure each employee has an internal phone line while your staff collectively shares a certain number of external phone lines. For example, if you have a PBX call center, you can make sure you have enough lines for the number of representatives working each shift. However, if you only work with a few major clients, you might not need that many external lines.
A PBX phone system helps organizations manage their communication more efficiently. Due to its large range of features, you will enhance your collaboration and customer service.
Benefits of a PBX phone system
Once you have a solid grasp on what this system is and does, you can get to know how it might support your employees and business.
Depending on your business type and structure, there are several reasons to set up a virtual PBX phone system, even if you currently run a small business. Here are just a few of them.
- Phone numbers are plug and play. This means you can easily assign new numbers or extensions to team members, making your life easier as employees come and go.
- Both on-site and remote workers can access the system. Your team members won’t neglect their phone calls when they work remotely. With an advanced platform like VoipNow, they can use it anywhere in the world. They just need an internet connection.
- They work for voice and video calls. You won’t need a separate phone and video conferencing system. Your PBX system can handle all of your communication needs.
- There is little to no hardware needed. Unlike traditional PBX systems, an IP PBX can be used directly from the Cloud. If it’s hosted in your provider’s cloud, you won’t need to maintain hardware. If you want it installed on your infrastructure of choice, then it’s entirely up to you.
- You can scale your internal lines. PBX systems allow SMBs and startups to easily scale as more people are hired. Plus, there are fewer costs associated since you already have the technology.
- You have access to all normal phone features. PBX systems offer all of the call features you expect from a standard phone system.
And, of course, we shouldn’t overlook the additional advantages that technology brings. Advanced IP PBX systems offer many more features on top of pure telephony, like:
- Enhanced call management
- Complex auto-attendants
- Queues and advanced call centers features
- Audio conferences
- Extension virtualization
- Fax over IP
- Presence features
- Instant communication via chat with file transfer and screen sharing
These are just a few examples. Depending on your chosen system, there could be even more features.
PBX types for your business
Once you know you want a PBX phone system for your business, consider what kind of platform you want. The best system for your business depends on 2 aspects: how you operate and what are your long-term communication goals.
- Cloud PBX: This is also known as virtual PBX. You use an IP PBX platform, like VoipNow, in the Cloud. It can be hosted in your service provider’s Cloud or on any public or private Cloud you choose.
- On-premises PBX: This is similar to Cloud PBX except the servers are based at your operational location. If you already have hardware on-site, this could be a good option for you. This might also be good for companies with special privacy or security requirements.
If your company has been using PBX telephone system for several years, you also might be able to continue using it. Note, however, that these systems require more maintenance. With a platform like VoipNow, you can connect your old PBX to the VoipNow system. This way, you benefit from all its features without migrating from what you already had in place.
How much does a PBX system cost?
Multiple factors contribute to the cost of your PBX system. You need to determine the best ways to set up your phone lines and how much new technology you need.
Another factor is the size of your organization. The more employees you have, the more you will likely have to pay. However, many PBX providers offer enterprise-level packages. You pay per-employee basis and the more you grow, the less you pay per person.
Conversely, small businesses can save money by working with an IP PBX. Many service providers offer special packages for companies with fewer than 100 workers.
Shop around to different service providers to get an idea of your expected costs. This can help you set a reasonable budget. Furthermore, you will also learn about the features offered by each vendor you consider working with.
Decide whether a PBX phone system is right for your business
Understanding the essence of what PBX means is fundamental for deciding if it is the right choice. Once you understand your options and assess their advantages, you can proceed further. Look for a phone system that will allow you to scale your business.
In addition, you can talk to a 4PSA expert to learn more about communications. We can help you find the right service provider that can offer all the benefits VoipNow delivers.