Business telephony has evolved beyond traditional desk phones for mere voice communications. Today’s business phone systems extend beyond voice communications and transform how you communicate with colleagues and customers alike. Your telephone system is an essential business tool that should be properly researched before purchase. While doing your homework, you may run across a string of new terms and acronyms, but don’t let these deter you. Understanding the simple technology behind today’s business telephony and how it can make you more competitive will ensure your organization’s success in choosing the right phone system.
VoIP – “Voice over Internet Protocol” enables calls to be carried over the Internet instead of an analog phone line. VoIP provides increased functionality and flexibility as well as lower rates than traditional phone service.
PBX and IP PBX – A “Private Branch Exchange” is a telephone system within an enterprise in which users share external phone lines for outside calls, rather than requiring a line for each user. Calls can be easily routed internally using three or four-digit numbers. An IP PBX converges data and voice networks using VoIP, while a conventional, hard-wired PBX requires separate networks for voice and data communications.
Hosted PBX and Cloud PBX – Cloud PBX and Hosted PBX services are similar in that the hardware is housed in a centralized location(s), and the features/services are available via the Internet. Although both Cloud and Hosted PBX options do not require large up-front capital investments, the Cloud-based solution offers a pay-as-you-go payment model, which has a tendency to keep costs down even further. Cloud offerings, such as O1 Phone VoiceStream, typically have optional mobility and collaboration tools that can be seamlessly integrated. Lastly, a Cloud PBX solution provides a greater level of business continuity in that the robust feature set is mirrored across multiple data centers and diverse geographical areas, thus providing an “always-on” communications platform.
Unified Communications (UC) – UC features with seamless integration are essential to enhancing productivity, improving agility and supporting a mobile workforce. VoiceStream provides an integrated UC offering, with functionality such as instant messaging (IM), presence, screen sharing, and video and audio conferencing, while giving users the ability to have a seamless user experience from their desk or mobile device.
SIP Trunking – “Session Initiation Protocol” trunking enables you to maximize the investment of your existing PBX equipment to deliver instant VoIP.
BYOD – “Bring Your Own Device” empowers employees to connect with their own devices. As workforces become increasingly more mobile, business phone systems with mobility applications, such as VoiceStream, enable employees to access key services from any device.