What is a Hosted IP PBX?
A hosted IP PBX is basically a phone system where the actual hardware for the phone system lives (or is “hosted”) someplace off-site instead of within a business’s physical location.
The term “PBX” stands for Private Branch Exchange, which refers to a business telephone system that allows calls to be “exchanged” (or switched) between different “branches” (or lines) within a business. The term originated from when telephone operators fielded and switched lines manually to get them to the appropriate person or line. Now that process is handled digitally over the Internet, hence the “IP” before PBX in the name IP PBX.
Providers of hosted phone systems will typically have a central location where they house all of their servers, then they “rent out” server space to businesses who are looking to house their actual phone system somewhere other than at their place of business.
Hosted phone systems are often called “cloud” phone systems, because the phone system components that would normally reside on-site are now being hosted in the “cloud” - which is simply on a server that is located someplace else and is accessed over the internet.
There are many advantages to hosted (cloud) phone systems. For one, they require less setup due to the lack of on-site hardware, so the business spends less money up-front. Hosted phone systems are also typically paid on a monthly basis, so the payment arrangement tends to be more cost effective for smaller businesses.
Hosted phone systems also have the ability to scale up and down more easily than other setups. Because hosted phone system providers maintain a large amount of resources, they can provide businesses with more or less resources as needed, as opposed to purchasing a set amount up-front and then having to upgrade expensive hardware when you need to scale up or wasting resources when you need to scale back.
Benefits of a Hosted IP PBX
More than a hosted PBX, Switchvox Cloud is a full-featured Unified Communications (UC) solution designed for SMBs. Now you can take advantage of powerful UC features, including presence, instant messaging, conferencing and mobility all for a low monthly rate. See for yourself how Switchvox Cloud simplifies the way your business communicates, anywhere, anytime.
All Features Included for Every User
Hosted, or cloud-based, phone systems can sometimes be thought of as less feature-rich than on-premise solutions. The truth is, a quality hosted PBX can and should offer the same features and flexibility of a full-scale UC solution - such as a full contact center, mobility, call control, and productivity tools - regardless of whether it’s on-premise or hosted. These features should also be included for every user instead of having to pay extra for each user to get certain features.
Because of the many features they offer, hosted IP PBXs can provide small businesses with enterprise-level communication tools on a small business budget. That’s good news for small businesses who either aren’t ready to invest in their own on-premise phone system or simply don’t have the IT resources to manage an on-premise solution.
So what features can you expect with a hosted IP PBX? Here are a few of the main features to expect from a hosted IP PBX:
- Call control
- Web-based management
- Call training
- Call management
- Contact center
Eliminates Hardware Costs
One of the biggest advantages of a hosted PBX is its lack of hardware. This means less upfront cost, less maintenance, and of course less physical storage space. With a hosted solution, instead of paying one lump sum upfront for your entire setup, you can pay monthly to use existing resources in an off-site cloud data center, making hosted solutions easy and affordable for small businesses. With the phone system itself being housed off-site, the only hardware you might need would be the IP phones themselves, and some providers even allow those to be added to your monthly bill as well.
Imagine being able to take your business phone with you wherever you go. You would never miss an important call, but you could still send non urgent calls to voicemail and even set up call rules to determine what happens when people call before or after certain times.
That’s another big advantage of a hosted PBX and IP PBXs in general: the ability to access the business phone system from a mobile device. A good IP PBX should offer a softphone app that allows users to place and receive calls directly from their mobile device as if it's their business phone line.
Many hosted phone systems are one-size-fits-all products that come with stacked pricing and offer little or no room for flexibility. In other words, these stacked pricing structures make you pay extra for every add-on feature you need for your business. This is not ideal, and can be completely avoided by going with a hosted PBX that offers all features for one price.
A good hosted solutions is one that’s affordable but still fits your business needs. Regardless of your deployment method - on-premises system or hosted - you get all the same features for every user without complicated pricing or the stress of managing a complex phone system.
When you’re looking to invest in a new phone system for your business, the last thing you want is to get stuck with one that can't keep up with your growth. Hosted phone systems offer the unique advantage of being extremely scalable, whereas resources can be added or removed quickly and easily as needed.
Switchvox Cloud eliminates the risk of having to migrate to a completely new system and invest in a costly and time-consuming fork-lift upgrade when your company outgrows its hosted deployment. Instead, you can move seamlessly from Switchvox Cloud to on-prem with no setup and no change to your user experience.