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A hosted PBX phone system is a private, internet-based telephone system, often used by businesses and other organisations. The PBX (Private Branch Exchange), which connects the calls, is hosted in the cloud by a third party, rather than in a physical box on the business’ premises.

Let’s break that into a bit more detail …

What is a PBX?

PBX is a type of telephone exchange, which is the switch system which takes the number you dialled and works out which telephone you want to be connected to.

Think back to the olden days with all those operators moving plugs around to connect calls – that’s the telephone exchange. Today, of course, it’s all managed digitally (though you can still dial 100 to speak to an operator if you’re having trouble with your call).

Vintage telephone operator

A PBX is a miniature telephone exchange for a specific organisation, often businesses. PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange (also known as a PABX – Private Automated Branch Exchange). These were developed in the 1960s to allow businesses to manage internal calls without routing them via a receptionist and without using an outside line to make them.

Technology has moved on significantly since then, but we still use a PBX to manage business’ multiple phone lines and internal/external calls.

What is a hosted phone system?

This is an internet-based phone system (VoIP) where your PBX is hosted in the cloud, on servers managed by a provider like us.

Instead of using traditional copper wires to connect the telephones to the PBX, the calls are carried though the internet in data packages.

The main benefit of a hosted phone system is that you don’t need a physical PBX control unit within your business, which is more costly to set up and maintain.

An on-premises PBX where the phone lines are physically plugged in, which is then connected through copper wires to the external phone exchange.

This makes a hosted phone system ideal for small to medium sized businesses, which don’t require the scalability or additional security capabilities which comes with an on-premises solution.

It also means that the controls for the phone system are all accessed through a simple browser-based interface, requiring no in-house technical capabilities to manage it.

Is a hosted PBX phone system the right choice for my business?

A hosted PBX phone system offers a lot of benefits, particularly for small to medium sized businesses:

  • The set up and running costs are both low.
  • It can be implemented quickly and easily.
  • It’s managed through a simple online interface
  • Because it is cloud based mobility and flexibility are built in.

Most hosted PBX phone systems offer a reasonable level of customisation, though not as much as an on-premises solution would.

Hosted PBX systems also tend to be the method that unified communications packages use to manage the “voice call” part of their set up.

However, it isn’t the right answer for every business. Large organisations may need an on-premises PBX to manage the higher volume of phone lines. Complex requirements, including high volume call centres and specific security needs, can also make on-premises a more sensible choice.

Contact our telephony experts for an initial chat to explore the options and identify the best solution for your organisation.

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