Today, trends in voice technology have pushed Private Branch Exchange (PBX) hardware into obsolescence, allowing businesses to enjoy all of the benefits of a PBX system without the limitations. Voice technology has changed beyond all recognition with the addition of VoIP services, SIP trunking and a variety of cloud-based information services. When first offered to business customers, PBX services presented an alternative to telephone operator services. Instead, businesses could essentially install a mini-switchboard that allowed an in-house operator to route calls. Additional services included call waiting, call logging and other essential business services. The downside of these early systems was the hardware investment.
What is Private Branch Exchange (PBX) Hardware?
Private Branch Exchange hardware may consist of a variety of different products, from control switches to handsets. For the last forty years, since the release of Centrex, the future of the hardware has been in doubt. VoIP services seemed to spell the death knell. After all, trends in voice technology indicate a move toward hardware-independent platforms. Unfortunately, before that future could evolve, manufacturers buried the possibility in proprietary servers, handsets and applications.
Why Are Business Phones Stuck in the Stone Age of Voice Technology?
Proprietary systems originally offered a cost-effective business solution, but locking companies into service contracts with proprietary hardware ultimately cost more. Once invested in particular hardware, even if offered a less expensive service contract, you are stuck with either long-term equipment lease agreements or the capital investment of a system overhaul. After adding the cost of new equipment, making the switch seems far less attractive from a financial perspective. Today, that is changing, and all signs point to a truly software-driven approach to voice technology.
VoIP PBXs: The Difference Today
Trends in voice technology now move toward platforms that operate independent of user hardware. Today's VoIP PBXs are now genuine software applications that can be loaded onto either Industry Standard Servers or a customer's virtual server environment. This means you can load your Private Branch Exchange in the cloud, on premise or use a hybrid system; you have the option to choose the hardware that supports your business. You can buy from the manufacturer or supply your own SIP devices. You no longer face long-term leases that lock you into higher rate structures. And, now, you can choose a unified communications platform that best fits your business's needs, not simply whatever service package your vendor offers.
According to Jim Tynan, VP of Sales for Twinstate Technologies®, "The new demographic of employees is the first generation to grow up in a world where applications are independent of hardware platforms or operating systems. For instance, they want iTunes, and they don't care if it's on a PC or MAC, iPhone or tablet. They expect access to the application regardless of what device they use or where they are."
Changing Attitudes Changes Technology
This change in how users relate to technology has revolutionized the voice technology industry. Today's VoIP applications work on the end-user's devices of choice, whether it's a proprietary IP desk phone, SIP end-point, smart phone, tablet, PC, iPhone or iPad. The move to software as a complete platform opens up a wide array of products that offer increased connectivity and productivity.
Moreover, the move to centralized services and software management for voice can revolutionize the way you do business. From your office, you can read your voicemail, while forwarding materials to an employee, as you track daily sales information and see a co-worker’s presence, i.e. “In a Meeting” or “Out to Lunch”. Today's trends in voice technology push productivity and service to new heights. Additionally, you have the ability to stay connected to the pulse of your business, on and offsite.
Contact your voice technology vendor, and find out what services will work best to promote your efficiency and productivity.