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What is a Hosted Phone System?

Understanding Hosted Phones Systems and How They Can Help Your Business

What is a Hosted Phone System?

The average American might not put much thought into making a phone call.

It is as simple as unlocking the security screen on your smartphone — or picking up an analog receiver if you’re old school — punch in 10 digits and wait for someone to answer.

But if you are in charge of making business decisions or are an IT administrator, you know it’s not that simple. Let’s dive into your options for helping your team decide on the best choice for its unique voice communications needs in this post.

A hosted phone system utilizes off-site servers via cloud computing. It is the perfect option for any business looking to increase productivity while reducing the cost of traditional and legacy hardwired systems.

These integrated phone systems use the power of the internet and cloud computing to offer bespoke solutions to many common problems that plague business communications. Read on to learn how a system can be an essential part of your business strategy.

Man Talking On the Phone

PBX Phone System

PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange. In the past, these types of systems required a human switchboard operator to direct incoming calls to dedicated lines. Today, this can be done digitally, with physical phones sharing telephone lines as needed.

One advantage of PBX systems is their ability to seamlessly incorporate Session Initiation Protocol (or SIP) devices to connect traditional legacy landline phones and IP-based phones. These systems also allow employees to integrate modern conveniences into their already established processes. Features include instant text messaging, video conferencing, visual voicemail, custom greeting, virtual receptionists, and more. Users can also connect voice sessions from their computers and access their office line and voicemail while away from the office via the internet.

IP (or Internet Protocol) PBX systems are based on open standards.

Open source phone systems are uniform, allowing companies to break away from traditional systems. These virtual systems take advantage of cloud computing rather than physical cable lines that run from the building. The power of the internet prevents workers from being locked in at their desks and brings voice, text, and video messaging to employees’ fingertips wherever they are located. As a result, these systems are ideal for customers looking to enhance their customer care or work-from-home networks.

The nice thing about these systems is that most businesses have the basic wiring required — if your business is capable of business-speed internet, you should be good-to-go. Versatility allows your company to choose between running your hardware or installing a vendor’s system. Our knowledgeable team at PGH Networks will help you develop a specific strategy that is the perfect solution to your needs.

3CX Hosting

It seems like everything is moving to the cloud these days — and your basic telephone call is no exception!

There are many benefits to operating a modern digital phone operating system. 3CX is the leading provider of web-based phone systems. Our approach to PBX using 3CX hosting offers your business the best options possible.

Your employees will have access to conventional business features such as fax and traditional telephone systems, as well as cutting-edge video conferencing solutions. Employees can use their phone systems while in the office, at home, or on the road. Web access will help your employees break through silos, giving them access to your digital phone book and the ability to contact colleagues via instant messaging and web-based chat features.

Cloud-based 3CX systems integrate seamlessly with social media, allowing customer care representatives access to Facebook messaging, your Pinterest inbox, Twitter, and other channels today’s customers expect. In addition, these systems are easily integrated into your business and are compatible with Android, Microsoft, and iPhone systems, and can be easily scalable for businesses that experience fast growth.

With the PGH Networks integrated PBX phone systems utilizing 3CX technology, you can build efficiency into your everyday communications.

Cloud PBX

PBX acts like a switchboard to route incoming and outgoing calls to their appropriate destination. Cloud-based systems utilize the power of the internet to break free from telephone lines, while hosted PBX systems need to be physically cabled into the system.

When someone places a call over a Cloud PBX phone, the voice call is broken into tiny packets of data and sent over the internet before being decoded back into sound on the other end. Just as an international call can be bounced across the globe, calls using cloud-based PBX systems are packaged, shipped, and encoded within milliseconds.

Because the exchange is hosted in the cloud, the need to be physically wired into the system is removed. As a result, an employee can just as easily access an incoming call on their cell phone, their laptop, or their desktop phone.

One benefit of a cloud-based exchange is the ability for employees to have voicemails transcribed and sent to their email inbox, providing another powerful tool to boost productivity. In addition, advances in artificial intelligence have led to improved digital assistants who can route calls to appropriate personnel, which improves call flows, forwarding, and recording.

Customer-facing businesses will appreciate the seamless integration with Customer Relationship Management Software (or CRM). And utilizing off-site servers offers a degree of weatherproofing. For example, when your headquarters is hit by power outages or affected by down telephone wires, your cloud-based systems will remain intact — offering a critical communications channel should a natural disaster strike your team.

Some business leaders may have doubts about the security of the cloud, but cloud-based systems offer best practices in data security. For example, call encryption and routing give these systems an industry-leading level of protection, making them an excellent solution for teams working to maintain HIPAA or PCI compliance.

Cloud-based PBX is an excellent solution for teams that can’t maintain comprehensive on-premise IT departments. While on-premise systems will require a dedicated expert to troubleshoot outages, upgrades, and updates, the Cloud PBX solutions offered by PGH Networks are backed by our excellent customer support. We can also integrate updates and upgrades without additional work from your team.

On-Premise PBX

The cost and efficiency advantages of cloud-based systems help explain why they are quickly becoming the industry standard. However, some businesses have specific requirements or considerations that make a traditional on-premise system a better fit.

The first consideration is bandwidth. The encoded voice packets sent over the internet through the cloud require a dedicated amount of internet capability. Some businesses located in rural areas or organizations that might not otherwise need business-speed internet might not have the need or desire to upgrade their internet provider or packages to enable cloud-based PBX services.

Established companies may have legacy systems with which they are working. For example, the up-front costs of traditional phone-line exchanges may have been considerable. As a result, business leaders might be wary of swapping out expensive systems purchased in previous decades for a new web-based approach, regardless of future savings. Likewise, vendor contracts or purchases of legacy system hardware may require organizations to continue using services and products within the contractor’s scope of services.

Some industries with technology and communications focus may integrate older technologies when the up-front cost of hardware and installation are waived. And teams with the dedicated IT departments necessary to maintain these systems may prefer on-site services installed by their organization.

Finally, businesses with established phone systems may be hesitant to disrupt workflow. Although systems installed by PGH Networks come with our best-in-class service, including the customer tutorials necessary to help your team hit the ground running, those with a workforce prone to doing things the old-fashioned way may be hesitant to change.

VoIP Phone System

Voice over Internet Protocol — or VoIP — is a leading solution for the modern business office.

VoIP is the process of swapping out traditional phone lines with internet broadband service. In this setup, the voice calls are integrated into broadband internet services.

This term describes everything from custom telephone systems to third-party apps like Skype and Google Chat that allow wifi and mobile hotspot voice messaging to integrated cloud-based systems. As a result, a wide variety of equipment may be used, including traditional wired phones with adapters to specialized headsets for computer systems.

Because cable hardlines are not required, VoIP systems can be accessed anywhere the internet is available via a smartphone app or soft-phone software that makes the phone number accessible through a computer or tablet. While calls are routed through servers via the cloud, regular landline phones can receive calls from a VoIP system or dial a VoIP phone just like any other phone number.

Teams can utilize VoIP options whether they have an on-premise PBX or digital cloud-PBX. And those with dedicated IT resources may opt for a hybrid approach. For example, SIP functionality is valuable for teams updating legacy systems. Here, a server routes calls to traditional phone lines or VoIP services depending on call demand and volume.

Regardless of your team’s specific needs, PGH Networks can help improve your business with hosted phones. Our customer-driven services allow your team to harness the power of cloud computing to increase efficiency and the overall bottom line.

As changes to the workforce and customer expectations continue to evolve, PGH Networks can offer a custom solution to your specific communications needs and goals. See how a browser-based web client, video conferencing, internal messaging, fully integrated mobile applications, routes, and live chat functionality can blend seamlessly into your business operations.

Contact our team today to see how our bespoke communications solutions can improve your business.