It’s perhaps not a commonly known fact that PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange. Most small business owners are accustomed to calling their office telephone system “the PBX”. It allows for call transfers to multiple lines in their office, multiple voicemail boxes, ACD queues, ring groups, etc.
A PBX is a phone system that allows routing of calls to multiple extensions (handsets) in the office without the need for each extension to have it’s own landline from the telephone company. This obviously saves money, but also delivers features you can’t get on a basic phone line.
For most office situations where there are more than a half-dozen people working, a PBX phone system makes sense.
Typically, there will be one main extension handled by a receptionist, who answers all incoming calls and then routes them to the specific staff member. Another option is an Automated Attendant (often called an IVR or Interactive Voice Response), which answers the calls for you, and allows callers to select the extensions or menu options they need.
PBX phone systems provide scalability and flexibility to add or reduce desk phone numbers without having to pay for an entirely new phone line from your local telephone company.
PBX Moves to the Cloud
Traditional (also known as legacy) PBX phone systems ran off of hardware located in your office. There were a series of lines running to each desk phone which connected each line to the main PBX system.
It was this hardware that allowed for the routing and transferring of calls around the office.
In more recent years PBX phone systems have been making a jump to the cloud, where the bulky hardware is located off site and managed by a 3rd party vendor. You pay for access to the the software and hardware, but essentially get rid of almost all equipment that needs to be kept on site.
This move to the cloud has reduced costs for small business, and yet at the same time increased the number of features you get access to.
Switching from a Legacy PBX to the Cloud
The switch from a traditional PBX phone service to a hosted PBX phone system isn’t difficult (especially if your cloud provider has an experienced implementation team). The primary reasons Canadian businesses are changing over are both cost savings and simpler support and maintenance.
Your office may require new, standards-compliant SIP handsets for each extension. Older, proprietary handsets are not usually compatible with virtual PBX services. Fortunately, once you’ve replaced them with SIP handsets, you’ll be able to use them with pretty much any modern telephone system. We can help determine if new handsets will be required during a phone conversion consult with one of our representatives.
If you currently have older PBX hardware in your office the time is right to get rid of it. Opting to go with a cloud PBX service instead of a local on premise PBX means there isn’t much hardware required locally.
When switching to a VoIP PBX the option still exists to have the hardware at your location. For some businesses, depending on size and number of extensions, this can make sense. Speak with one of our representatives to discuss the pros and cons of on-premise vs a fully hosted PBX solution.