VoIP or PBX – A guide to choosing the best communication for your business
If you want to upgrade your business’s communication capability this year, then you may be wondering whether a VoIP or a PBX-based system is best for your enterprise’s unique needs. Use the handy guide below to help you make the right choice.
What Are VoIP and PBX?
VoIP stands for Voice-over-Internet Protocol and is increasingly being used by businesses to replace landline communications; in a nutshell, this technology will enable you to place telephone calls over an internet connection rather than a landline.
PBX, on the other hand, has been around for a long time; this acronym stands for Private Branch Exchange. Having a PBX system in place for your business means that staff can share a single external phone line, rather than individual lines being required for each member of your team. PBX allows staff to call each other internally on the system and does not usually connect to the internet or an external data network.
Benefits of VoIP
As well as offering the sort of features you’d expect from a traditional landline communication system, such as voicemail, call hold, and the facility to make conference calls, VoIP will also enable you and your team to hold call conferences, utilize a virtual receptionist, multi-device ring and instant messaging.
A key benefit of VoIP, especially attractive for smaller businesses or start-up concerns with a limited budget for communication infrastructure, is that there is no equipment to buy to get it set up and no professional staff required to put it in place. VoIP calls can be made either by using standard telephone handsets (using additional connections that can be supplied by your package provider), or special VoIP handsets can be chosen, which are good to go immediately. As well as the money-saving element, VoIP, therefore, also offers space-saving benefits and negates the need for ongoing maintenance of lines and equipment.
Many businesses allow employees to use their own devices – such as a laptop or cell phone – as part of their day-to-day work. If this is the case in your company, then it’s also important to be aware that most VoIP packages will support this, and additional costs or equipment won’t be required for your staff to use the company’s VoIP on their own devices.
The potential for upscaling is another important advantage that VoIP offers. If you need an additional line, this can be added quickly, easily, and with no requirement for additional wiring or equipment. Plus, your business will only pay for the lines it uses, so there’s no risk of money being wasted.
Finally, reliability: VoIP is known for the higher quality of the calls it allows and its uptime: calls made over wifi are much less likely to suffer from service interruptions or sudden cut-offs. Have a look at this article for more information on the benefits that VoIP can deliver to your enterprise and for the best VOIP packages, including the cost you can expect to pay for each.
How PBX Compares
Many of the features that come as standard in all VoIP systems aren’t available with traditional PBX and, where they are (such as voicemail, for example), you will usually have to pay more to access them. Similarly, it is usually not possible for employees to access the company’s PBX system on their own devices; occasionally, a prover will allow it, although additional equipment will be required to enable this.
In terms of infrastructure, VoIP is, again, the clear winner. PBX requires the installation of physical lines and equipment and the maintenance that this necessitates. This leads on to issues of expansion and scalability; up-leveling a PBX system and adding more lines will require potential rewiring and the incorporation of additional equipment. It could be the case that the existing system, in this case, doesn’t have the capacity to handle additional lines, which would subsequently mean adding new exchange modules or switching providers.
Finally, reliability. While PBX can be comparably reliable to VoIP systems, to achieve and maintain this level of reliability, it’s usually necessary to incorporate additional lines and backup hardware.
The above comparison makes it clear that, in almost every case, VoIP will be the best choice for your business, and incorporating it from start-up could save your business a lot of money as it grows and expands.
On top of the multitude of benefits that VoIP offers, in comparison to PBX-based communication, it is also almost always the more cost-effective option too. VoIP enables small businesses to get up and running quickly – using their own devices if necessary – without first needing to arrange for the installation of wiring and hardware. For larger, established enterprises, there is the ability to conference call and for the tech to integrate with existing applications used by the business, such as Customer Relationship Management systems, making for more streamlined, slicker processes overall.
In conclusion, the advantages of VoIP are the reason that it’s now becoming the standard communications system for businesses; whether yours is at the start-up stage or is looking to take its first steps onto the global stage, incorporating it into your business this year is likely to be a wise move.