A brief history of PBX phone systems

The Alltel Team
The Alltel Team
A Brief History of PBX Phone Systems

With advances in technology and high-speed Internet becoming widely available, many businesses are moving to Hosted PBX Phone Systems. These are affordable for businesses of all sizes, and provide many advanced features that were only available in expensive, high-end systems until just a few years ago. It's interesting to look at how far PBX systems have come in a relatively short time!

A business's incoming calls used to be connected manually by an operator using cords and a switchboard. Then in the 1960s, the Private Automatic Branch eXchange (PABX) was introduced. This allowed employees to make calls to one another within the building or connect to an outside line without having to go through a receptionist. It also helped to reduce costs, with external phone lines no longer necessary to call someone in the same building!

Even with large cost savings available, businesses were slow to move to PABX systems because of the costs involved not only in upgrading to these new systems, but also in maintaining them because of their complexity. By the 1990s, PBX systems (as they were now known) had started to be integrated with computer technology, which made call handling and administration easier and helped to reduce costs. This led to a more wide-spread adoption by businesses.

"Hosted" Solutions

With advances in digital technologies, today's PBX systems have features and capabilities that businesses could only dream of 20 years ago! Combine that with the quality and availability of today's high-speed broadband, and you've got a solution that allows small companies to compete with big business (without the need for bug business budgets). With today's Hosted PBX phone systems, you no longer need in-house PBX equipment. Instead, you use an external "hosted" high-end PBX system that you access through your high-speed Internet connection. You let someone else look after the expense of purchasing and maintaining the PBX equipment, while enjoying all of the benefits it provides.

For example, common features of Hosted PBX phone systems include:
  • Call Forwarding (IVR) Menus: "For sales, press 1" to allow callers to quickly connect their own calls to the correct person or department
  • Voicemail and Voice2Email
  • Missed Call Email Notification, providing the phone number of callers even when they don't leave a message
  • Time of Day Routing (e.g. automatically forward after hours calls to your Live Answering Service)
  • Call Recording to record both sides of any telephone conversation
  • Call Queuing: useful to help you manage calls during busy times
  • Call Prefixing to show you which number the caller dialled (useful if you're running multiple businesses)
  • Call Forwarding: forward calls to any extension or to external phone numbers
  • Extension Dialling: directly dial any other number within the system for free
  • Intercom/Paging Functionality
  • Fixed Caller ID (CLI Overstamping), which allows you to choose which number to display for out-going calls
  • Customisable Hold Music: play advertising messages to callers on hold
  • Customisable Voice Prompts
  • Portability: plug your phone into ANY suitable Internet connection (e.g. at home or work) to make and receive calls
  • Web-based Self-Management Portals: make changes and view caller details in real time
  • Low Cost VoIP Call Rates

You no longer need a huge up-front capital investment or dedicated professionals to maintain and administer your system. With a SmartConnect™ Hosted PBX, Alltel looks after all of that for you. You simply provide a suitable broadband connection and tell us how many lines you need—we'll look after the rest (with plans starting from just $30 a month for up to 10 extensions).

Call Alltel today on 1300 ALLTEL or visit our web site to find out more about SmartConnect™ Hosted PBX Phone Systems and the ways in which they can help your business to save money and be more efficient.

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