The Benefits of an IP PBX System
The evolution of the IP PBX system introduced companies to a new world of cost savings and efficiencies for the communication landscape. Older phone systems not only had fewer features than the modern IP PBX, but they were also more costly in terms of maintenance and monthly phone bills. Dedicated hardware and wiring requirements meant investing in specialized services and support.
An internet connection also meant that businesses could access their phone system from anywhere, making it easier to bridge multiple offices. Now more than ever, we’re seeing the impact that IP PBX technology can have on the need for mobility and remote work. Thanks to online connections, even if users aren’t in an office, they can use a web browser or smart phone to manage their communications and maintain the same business phone number.
What is an IP PBX?
As copper lines make way for broadband internet, IP PBXs are emerging as the most common systems in most enterprise environments. While it is still possible to purchase analogue options, companies often prefer the unique advantages available from an IP PBX.
The IP PBX first emerged in 1997. Within a few years, VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, became a common part of the PBX conversation. The solution allowed for multimedia transmissions and the delivery of larger packages of data throughout the business network. Not only could VoIP transfer more data over the internet, but it could also do so without increasing data usage costs.
The biggest benefit of the IP PBX system for many companies was the arrival of new virtual hosting opportunities. With the IP environment, there was no longer a need to rent, maintain, and upgrade computerized switchboards within the business environment. Instead, companies could simply use an internet connection to process and transfer their data.
As companies began to handle more of their calls through the internet, new interfaces and PBX functionalities emerged. Soft phones offered employees a way to look at monitors and see all kinds of telephony information on a display. The soft phone could turn any connected device with a set of headphones and a microphone into a desk phone.
Other new specialized service features included:
IVR menus: Interactive Voice Response routing to help users reach the right extension
Voicemail: The ability to collect voice messages and transcribe them into text
Scheduled routing: Changes to routing systems based on business opening hours
Portable phone systems: Mobile business phone numbers for employees
Call queuing: Better management of calls on hold
Because they leverage the internet, IP PBXs are also capable of higher-definition audio and many other sophisticated features, including integrations with various applications, allowing for the evolution of the UC and UCaaS environment.
Cloud or IP PBX solutions are:
Scalable: It’s quick and easy to expand an IP phone system with new extensions and numbers
Flexible: Companies can infuse their PBX with call centre functionalities, like auto attendants, call forwarding rules, and advanced queue strategies
Adaptable: The current IP PBX system can easily transfer larger packets of multimedia data through the web. This means you can handle not phone audio calls, but web conferencing connections, video calls, and instant messaging
Extensible: In the cloud, companies can combine their IP PBX environment with other functionalities and tools for a comprehensive UCaaS experience
Global: The right PBX vendors can offer data centres to help you transfer packets of data and communication information anywhere in the world
From PBX to Unified Communications
The latest era of PBX technology takes the potential of IP connections to the next level, with the promise of unified communications. The introduction of cloud and internet-based service was a crucial revolution in the communications landscape. Call routing today is only a small ingredient of the full communication formula.
PBX solutions in the age of UC are rarely advertised as standalone services. Instead, you get your PBX technology bundled with other essential features for team connectivity. Features can range all the way from traditional PBX components, like voicemail hold music, and routing technology, to video conferencing support, and voice to text recordings.
PBX technology now operates alongside instant messaging tools for collaboration in the hybrid workforce, video conferencing, and group calling. We’ve seeing the arrival of new UC features to enhance and supplement what the PBX can do all the time, from intelligent systems that assist with routing, to clever voice analytics tools which help with monitoring call quality.
Smarter VoIP Assistants
Still on the topic of AI, the past few years have seen the rise of virtual assistants. A study by eMarketer revealed that in 2019, 39.4% of internet users use voice assistants monthly (eMarketer, 2019) . That is to say, roughly 111.8 million people use Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Ok Google to surf the web. What is more, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports show that there was a 7% increase in voice assistant usage (GlobalWebIndex, 2020).
With continual advances in language processing, we can expect these virtual assistants to be even smarter in the sense that it can respond to more complicated questions from users. However, we have to note that this technology isn’t limited to making internet queries faster and easier. Just imagine what it can do for your VoIP system.
For instance, these virtual assistants can help you automate a lot of mundane processes such as routing calls to agents or sending calls to voicemail. Moreover, with these at your disposal, you no longer need to forward simple questions to agents because the virtual assistant can answer it for you.
Lastly, as these virtual assistants are, more often than not, powered by AI, it also has the capability to collect information about your customers. Meaning, it can record previous interactions automatically so that it is easier for agents to pick up calls where other agents left off. Thus, agents can provide more personalized service to clients.