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Friday, May 29, 2015

How to choose your next SMB telephone system

By Jane Writhe

The trend in business communications is to move everything to the virtual world, and the same applies for telephone systems. You will quickly find yourself in a world of new acronyms, with VoIP, Virtual PBX, IP-PBX, UC and more being thrown around like confetti, but what does all this mean and how do you choose the right telephone system for your business.

First of all, a virtual PBX makes a lot of sense, and rather than focus on the technicalities, let’s take a look at what it does. A traditional telephone system has to be installed with its own connection to a telephone exchange, plus you have all the internal wiring and boxes required for your use within your premises. You get charged for this, plus you typically pay for all the calls made through it.

A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution, allows for the setup of a virtual PBX – a telephone exchange in the Cloud. The VoIP system then uses your existing IT infrastructure – all the network cabling and connection to the Internet, in order to make and receive telephone calls. But, because this is all just about data, the VoIP solution can do much more than simply make and receive telephone calls – now you can run email, fax, chat and web conferencing services too.

Best of all, you don’t have to pay for these calls, or the cost is greatly reduced.


You’re already paying for the Internet connection and the calls are simply using your bandwidth, which you already pay for. Effectively, you are getting the phone calls for free, but at the same time you are also tapping into a world of other business communication services too.

A major benefit of moving to what is called a Unified Communications strategy (UC) is that you now tie all of your business communications together, and free them from the employees’ desks. Given this is a solution which uses the Internet, all staff need is a means to access the Internet and then they can access your communication tools – this is just the same as reading your email from your Smartphone!

Remote and Mobile workers can work off of the same system, so instead of calling their number, your staff call their internal extension, and no matter where they are in the world, the call will connect as long as they are connected to the Internet. In addition, they too can also access the same communication tools and services you provide to your staff working in your office – everyone is now able to enjoy the full range of tools you provide to get business done, no matter where they are in the country or in the world.

Collaboration levels increase dramatically, and your staff become much more productive by being freed from their desks. At the same time, a VoIP or Virtual PBX system is not expensive to deploy, and business disruption is minimal, if not zero. If you are not leveraging the power of a Unified Communications strategy, then you can be sure your competitors are, and they are enjoying enhanced productivity and ROI, with greatly reduced costs.

About the author: Jane Wrythe writes on business and technology topics, and she is currently VoIP specialist, Swift Systems.

Images: Kam Surray; CC BY-SA 3.0