VoIP vs SIP: Which Communication Solution is Right for Your Business?
Everything You Need to Know About PABX Phone Systems
Business phone solutions have become increasingly elaborate over the years, as the scope of global enterprises has grown, and their needs alongside it. While some companies were managing fine on the PTSN (Public Switched Telephone Network) a decade ago, they are now seeing that both their costs and requirements are rising, and this old-fashioned system is becoming unmanageable. Not only is paying for separate lines for all staff members a waste of money, but they are also losing out on productivity from their staff.
What is the Difference Between PBX solutions and PABX systems?
You might have heard about PBX systems in the past. If so, you probably know a lot about PABX already. The A in PABX simply stands for Automatic. Historically, the original PBX systems were not automatic, with heavy hardware considerations to consider, and without any virtual PBX elements, either automated or in the cloud.
Nowadays, with the rise of hosted PBX for businesses who don’t want the hardware or the upfront costs and commitment, practically all PBX systems are automatic. For many people this has made the abbreviation PABX obsolete.
Does my Business Need a PBX or PABX Phone Solution?
Essentially, a PABX phone system will replace your existing telephone system, making and disconnecting calls, channelling voice signals, and keeping track of costs and phone lines in use. But unlike the traditional phone system, a PABX phone has almost unlimited capabilities for communication and collaboration, and all at a fraction of the price.
Say Goodbye to Line Rentals
With a PABX system in place, you will no longer have to pay for each individual staff member to have a line rental, as well as for many of the calls they make. PBX works using VoIP technology, which means that most of the telephone calls your business makes will be entirely free. This usually includes local calls as well as any interactions between your staff, including those in international offices or on mobile devices.
For international calls, prices will vary, but companies can expect to make savings of up to 40% over their traditional phone services.
Auto-Attendant Features for PABX IP
Another benefit of PABX phones are auto attendants. These are sometimes called virtual receptionists. They allow for callers to be seamlessly transferred to individual staff members, or offices, without the need for a human middle man. They may also offer menu systems with touchpad or voice activation, such as ‘press 1 for accounting, press 2 for the opening hours’ etc. A sophisticated auto-attendant can route calls to mobile phones, virtual phones, voicemails, and more. It can even create a route where one number is called and then your caller is redirected if there is no answer. Many can also handle simultaneous ringing to allow for more options for staff.
Unified Communication Benefits from a PABX
One of the big selling points of many PABX solutions is the trend towards Unified Communications, or UC. Simply put, this is integrating all forms of real-time communication with one another, for better productivity and communication across your business.
Instant messaging or private chat between staff, (or staff and customer) web and video conferencing, voicemail to email features, plus any form of data or desktop sharing are all considered forms of UC.
Your staff or customers can send a message on one medium, and it can be received on another. In this age of mobile technology, this is becoming more essential than ever. Customers and staff alike want to be able to start an interaction by desktop, and continue it by mobile. They may have an app available on their cell phone, but not on their tablet device. One staff member might begin a conversation, but another may need to take it over when the situation escalates or time passes. UC is the solution to all of this, and it comes right along with your PABX system.
Other Benefits of PABX
As well as communication benefits and reduced costs, there are other reasons why businesses are choosing to change to PABX solutions.
Scalability. PABX virtual phones have none of the limits of traditional hardware, and can be seamlessly increased with the growing needs of your business.
Reliability. Disaster recovery is usually instantaneous, as most hosting companies have multiple data centers, and companies usually do not have to deal with lagging call times or bad quality. In fact, over 90% of customers are happy with their VoIP quality.
Maintenance. With a PABX hosted solution, all the maintenance is handled offsite, making it perfect if your business does not have its own technical or IT expertise to hand.
I’ve Seen Other Abbreviations Too. What are MPBX and EPABX?
As the name PABX goes out of fashion, some businesses have created new ways to talk about the non-automated PBX systems, for example EPABX (electronic public automatic branch exchange) and MPBX for a Manual Private Branch Exchange. These are both ways of differentiating between manual switchboard-like telephone systems, and automatic solutions which need less human interaction and can run independently or with automated elements.
MPBX is sometimes also used for talking about a Mobile Private Branch Exchange, which is when a fixed PBX line extends to mobile devices. While most PABX solutions do include the ability to use mobile numbers and cell phones as part of the network, a MPBX will also let PABX functionality be controlled by the mobile phone carrier, perhaps by mobile app or online. This means that system administrators can access and make changes to the PABX at any time, on the move or from home.
Finding the Right PABX IP For Specific Business Needs
The type of PABX solution you ultimately choose will depend on many factors, including the size of your business, the amount of offices you have and where they are located, and the expected growth of your company. You might also want to consider what features you need, from auto-attendants and unified communication, to mobile functionality for both staff, customers and admin.
If you’re not sure where to begin, our comparison chart of the top names in Business VoIP can be a lifesaver, outlining the best companies who provide PABX for businesses of all shapes and sizes.