PBX is a system which serves the purpose of connecting intra-company telephone extensions with the outside public telephone or mobile network. A private branch exchange (PBX) can mimic a telephone exchange or a complex switching system of a private organizations. PBX was the next logical step to KTS (key telephone system) in the evolution of communication systems. In a PBX the user need not manually select their outgoing lines using special telephone sets, as in a PBX everything is automated. However a PBX is very expensive for a small business.
A hosted PBX is nothing but a private branch exchange that is hosted in a remote hardware along with the call platform. The consumer can simply connect to that host via IP. For any small business looking for communication solutions which is state of the art, cost effective and efficient should look no further than hosted PBX. However features offered can differ from one provider to another, as high end service providers have added their own unique features and capabilities to their services.
Important Benefits of Hosted PBX
- Lower Initial Expense – Unlike conventional communication systems, the upfront investment for a hosted PBX is cost-effective.
- Lower Recurring Expense – The savings due to lower recurring expense will be substantial over the long run than a traditional system. The maintenance cost is almost zero as the entire call platform and the hardware is located elsewhere (service provider’s location). The business just need to pay for the service package, and this cost is negligible when compared to the conventional communication systems.
- Better Use of Existing Resources – The company can make use of existing resources like computers and mobile devices as the hosted PBX can connect these devices too.
- Better infrastructure – Most service providers specialize in these services and hence will have a better infrastructure than yours.
- Scalable – PBX VoIP is a very versatile technology that can be used for several business functions, which means that when rolling out your own VoIP platform it’s best to make it as scalable as possible for new business ventures or expansions. Through hosted PBX, your host can secure this important facet for you.
- Geographical Reach – Since the office communication system is virtual, the employees can work from anywhere. You can easily hire overseas employees or let your employees work from home.
- Local Reach – Hosted PBX will provide you the telephone numbers of your choice, therefore you can set up virtual offices even in those locations where you are not physically present, by using local numbers.
- Instant Credibility – A small business with a hosted PBX toll-free number can give instant credibility while keeping the cost associated to a bare minimum.
- Scalability – Seen by many as the most important feature of a hosted PBX. Most traditional communication systems are limited by the number of users they can handle and the number of lines purchased. A hosted PBX can expand and grow along with your business without costing you much.
- Instant Setup – Unlike normal communication systems, a hosted PBX can have you up and running instantly.
In addition to all these benefits a hosted PBX is also easy to use with user-friendly and intuitive web interfaces.
Risks Associated with a Hosted PBX
There are few risks associated with this system like
Unexpected Downtime – Most of the reputed service providers offer a 99% up-time guarantee, however any problems on your host’s side will lead to unexpected downtime.
Limited control over things – Since PBX hardware is located in your service provider’s location you have very little control over the hardware. Any change/specific settings you need should go through your host.
Despite these limitations opting for a hosted PBX is a no-brainer. However choosing reputable and reliable hosts is extremely important as that can minimize most of these risks.