IP-based phone systems offer better convenience and expandability versus traditional PBX
Small businesses have so many more options now when it comes to business technologies, many of which have evolved to meet the specific needs of smaller companies. Even Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems are now well within reach for companies that are looking for enterprise features on a small business budget. An IP-based voice system provides a business-class phone solution that is more affordable, convenient, and expandable than a traditional PBX phone system.
According to research from AMI Partners, small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. will step up their adoption of VoIP solutions in 2011, including IP PBX systems. AMI states, ”Over 30 percent of small businesses (1 -- 99 employees) and 50 percent of medium businesses (100-999 employees) say that VoIP will become critical to their business operations.” AMI also found that smaller companies are choosing VoIP systems for advanced IP features as well as for cost savings.
Traditional PBX vs. IP PBX
You’re familiar with a traditional PBX, or private branch exchange. It’s the system that connects all of the telephones within a company and then connects them to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
An IP PBX is a private phone system that delivers calls over your IP network. The IP-based voice system also connects to the PSTN or an IP telephony provider’s network and allows you to place and receive calls to any phone number anywhere in the world. When an IP PBX includes VoIP technology, you can make long-distance calls over the Internet.
Big business features on a small business budget
A small business IP PBX gives companies like yours big-class features that would typically cost many times more in a traditional PBX solution. Plus, IP-based voice systems designed for small businesses tend to be much easier to set up than traditional PBX systems.
Some of the high-end business features available with an IP voice system include:
- Multiple voicemail accounts
- Call forwarding and call transfer
- Three-way conferencing
- Music-on-hold for incoming calls
- Automated attendant
- Voicemail to email notification
- Company directory
In addition to being less expensive to install than a traditional PBX solution, the other significant cost-saving benefit of an IP-based voice system is the essentially free long-distance service. With VoIP, your data and phone networks are combined, allowing your employees to make long-distance calls over your Internet connection. Just make sure your network and your Internet connection can handle the increased traffic.
Room to grow
An IP-based phone system offers other benefits for small businesses. In general, they’re easier to install. When considering an IP phone system, another convenient and cost-saving feature to look for is the ability to integrate analog lines. IP-based phone systems are also more easily expandable than traditional PBX systems. Instead of installing additional landlines in your office, you can add phones as needed, though a switch may be required to support them.
Apart from the cost savings and convenience, and IP-based voice system offers another key benefit to smaller companies—improved customer service through a professional interface. The auto attendant can greet customers with a recorded message and route incoming calls to the correct extension, making a good first impression with your customers.
Are you considering replacing your traditional phone system and with an IP-based voice system? What business benefits are you looking to achieve?