A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Business Telephone System
If you’re in the market for a new business telephone system, there are a few questions you should ponder to lead you on the right track. In this article, we’ll go over these questions and help you answer them. The questions you should be asking yourself are:
Do you need physical phones on your desks to operate. or would your employees get by using a virtual phone number on their mobiles?
If you do need desk-phones, what kind of service would suit you best? You could choose a traditional business telephone system, provided by a telco or a dealer company such as ourselves. Alternately, you could choose a VoIP system which you can get from a number of suppliers.
If you’re opting for VoIP, do you want it kept on the property (on-premises) or hosted by your service provider (cloud-based)?
We’ll help answer these questions in the article, but if you’d like to speak to an expert about this click here. Later in this article, we show you how to apply those questions to choosing between these types of business telephone systems:
Traditional Business Telephone Systems (Landlines)
In this case, we refer to traditional business telephone systems as landlines. They are typically supported by telephone companies, though if you are a Brisbane based business, you should contact us to see how we can improve your experience! Landlines, or public switched telephone networks (PSTNs) are analogue systems that run over normal telephone lines. To run a traditional landline system, you’ll need an on-site PBX (private branch exchange). This piece of hardware provides support for internal extensions and call transfers. There are some landline systems that are actually hybrids, partially utilising VoIP. In these systems, the phone line is connected to the business’s data network, which in turn connects to the individual phones. It is worth noting that traditional business telephone systems are being phased out by telcos and may eventually go the way of dial-up internet.
Pros: They’re reliable, have stood the test of time, and are what most companies are most comfortable using.
Cons: Most providers are moving away from this solution, meaning it can be difficult to get them repaired or serviced.
Advice: These systems are suited to larger companies with the budget to pay for the hardware as well as IT consultants who can service them. They are also a necessity if your business doesn’t have a high speed internet.
VoIP Business Telephone Systems
These systems run over your internet connection rather than traditional phone lines. They boast a feature set which previously required expensive top of the range PBX hardware. This includes automated attendents, call queues and integration with computers. This computer integration allows calls to be sent to email inboxes, and allows you to use your computer as your business phone. VoIP also gives remote workers to access the business phone system from their mobile devices.
Pros: VoIP provides an advanced phone system with all the features of a large corporation’s landline service. They’re cheaper than regular landlines and significantly less painful to configure.
Cons: These systems rely on a stable internet connection. If your internet connection drops out, so will your phone system.
Advice: These systems are great for smaller businesses that want to have the same level of functionality for their business telephone system as a larger corporation, or who have remote workers that need access to the phone system. Make sure your internet connection is reliable before committing to this option though.
If this is the option you’re going for, the next decision is to determine how it will be hosted. Read further for advice on this.
Virtual Business Telephone Systems
These systems are the most basic type of VoIP system. They are essentially an extensive call forwarding system that routes calls to the main business line to either the employees mobile or home phone. These systems can work well for home offices with a decent internet connection, but be careful if you live with other people outside of the business. These systems still provide a variety of features however, including automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening and more.
Pros: These services allow businesses to present a professional image, even when working offsite.
Cons: Virtual phone systems aren’t full fledged phone systems, and since they work by forwarding calls, you will be paying for calls on your home or mobile phone, as well as the virtual phone line.
Advice: If your business has workers that work offsite most of the time or you’re a home office, then this solution may be for you.
Cloud and On-Premise VoIP Systems
With on-premises VoIP, the hardware used to run the system are kept (as you’ve probably guessed) at the business premises. This arrangement requires a large upfront cost since you’re purchaseing the equipment that runs the VoIP connection. Because of this, you only pay a one time fee for the hardware, but you will still have to pay the ongoing costs of SIP trunking which allows you to make and receive calls with it. With this solution, your IT staff are responsible for maintenance, repairs and updates.
Pros: You control your service, so you are only relying on yourself to keep it going. You can also configure it exactly the way you’d like.
Cons: You will pay a significant upfront cost for the hardware. You also need to have IT staff capable of maintaining the system.
Advice: This solution is suited to those who have an in-house IT staff and are hoping to have total control over their system with immediacy.
With a cloud based system, you don’t have any maintenance or expensive hardware to worry about. The service provider houses, maintains and updates all of the PBX technology for you. The cloud makes growing your business easier by alleviating the headache of needing to upgrade your PBX hardware or add new lines manually. For this type of service, businesses generally pay a monthly fee on a per-user basis.
Pros: You needn’t purchase or maintain the expensive hardware that is otherwise a necessity. In fact, you don’t even need a desk phone (although that certainly is an option), you can set up your computer to work as your desk phone.
Cons: You’re not in control of the hardware. If the system has an outage, you need to trust that the service provider will bring it back up in a timely fashion.
Advice: This system is well suited to growing businesses that are on a fixed budget and who don’t have an in-house IT team to maintain and operate the PBX hardware. It is also a great option for businesses who want a stress free setup of a new phone system with all the features of that of a large corporation.
Key Technologies specialize in the latest phone systems for Brisbane businesses of all sizes
VoIP Phone Systems
PABX Phone Systems
SIP/IP Phone Systems
Reliable service and best technology
On Time Solutions
Telstra accredited Partner
Whether it be a phone systems for small office or a larger organisation, Key communications can help you get to the best solution for your business.
Key Technologies is a Brisbane based Phone supplier and installer. We are also a Telstra Accredited Dealer. Our Business Development Managers can show you how to maximize the services for the spend budget you allocated for your most valuable component of your business – Communications.
Continuity of services is vital for new and upgraded business phone systems installed for our Brisbane clients, that where our in-house tech team can help.
Phone System Terminologies
PBX is short for Private Branch Exchange, which is a company’s private telephone network. Users of the PBX phone system share a number of outside lines for making and receiving external phone calls.
PABX is the most widely used phone system.
When you want to upgrade your old phone system to a new system there are a number of Internet Protocol (IP) based solutions that are available to small business.
Voice over IP
You need an IP-based private branch exchange – a VoIP friendly version of the PBX phone systems that many offices use to route your calls to the appropriate phones on your network.
SIP Phones are also called VoIP Phones or Softphones.
These are telephones that use VoIP technologies for making calls over both an IP Network or the traditional PSTN networks.
The differences between VOIP and SIP are discussed in details in this article.
Let our team make your choices easy with on-site assessment and recommendations.
Business owners are initially attracted to VOIP by the low call costs, but once they understand what an IP Phone System truly offers their business they start to get really excited.
Chances are, if you are reading this article you have been doing your research and want a better understanding of the differences and benefits of Hosted IP PABX Phone System vs. On-Premise IP PABX Phone System.
[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”12025595″]
IP and PABX terms explained…
IP commonly referred to as VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, in simple terms – your phone service over the Internet. Benefits include feature rich service and cheap call rates
PABX (Private automatic branch exchange) performs all the switching necessary for making internal calls between extensions and provides a connection between extensions and external phone lines.
An IP PABX phone system allows calls to be made over a computer network using Internet Protocol (the internet). The cost savings for long distance calls can be substantial for small businesses.
Lower on-going monthly cost after system is paid for
Ability to SIP trunk with VoIP provider to get low cost calls
Lower to no maintenance costs
Ongoing monthly service fees
Fee increases can be charged and/or cancellations fees
Complete access and control allowing you to adjust, create, delete users, extensions and turn on or off feature sets Add / change users from unit Additional features (open source) added without license fees
Additional users managed by your carrier Will incur both the cost of hardware (IP phone) and potentially additional service plan costs
Flexibility and Upgrades
On-premise systems offer unrestricted access to your systems interface for managing users, call settings, and features Greater customisation options for integrating with business applications like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Contact Management software such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft Outlook You decide what handsets you want and you can add surveillance equipment as well It’s all DIY. You’ll enjoy tight control over your system and know it inside and out. You’ll also dictate how quickly new features or upgrades are implemented
System flexibility is limited – With a hosted system your provider will implements solutions across the board for all customers. This can be time consuming, and you’ll be left waiting to be serviced Customization and new future feature additions can be slow or non-existent as providers unlikely to customize for a single business
You can incorporate traditional lines in case of data or power outages
On-premise systems are not carrier specific, so if your carrier goes out of business you are free to shop for an alternative provider
Loss of Internet or power will result in loss of phone service
You are without a phone system if your provider goes under Your phone solution isn’t custom built to suit the specific demands of your business
Quality of Service (QoS)
On-premise IP PABX solutions will prioritize your data traffic
Connections (signaling) and voice quality are directly related to your Internet connection
No concern of anyone listening to your calls
It’s Your Choice
There are Pro’s and Con’s for both Hosted and On-Premise IP PABX Phone Systems, the benefits of an IP Phone System should not be ignored though. In our experience the choice for business owners generally comes down to available budget and the age of the business. If you need a hand to weigh up the best option for your business – we’re always available
VOIP Phone System Benefits
Benefits that are common to both hosted and on-premise IP PABX Phone Systems
Call cost savings
Abundant, interesting and useful features
Flexible network layout
Integration and collaboration with other applications
Administrative interface for simple management and customisation
No geographical boundaries
Simple to conference
Fax over IP
Deciding on the right IP PABX Phone System option…
Although expanding and reconfiguring an on-premise IP PABX phone system will cost more than a hosted system, the clear advantage is the level of access, scalability and customization available to your business. You can also implement changes when it suits your business best. You enjoy ultimate flexibility.
Keep in mind that with an on-premise system, you bear all the risk and aggravation associated with expansion and growth, so good support should be considered. If you’re absolutely sure of your communication needs won’t be changing, then investing in equipment may make sense.
Due to low upfront costs and minimal management, most small businesses can benefit from a hosted IP PBX phone system. But every small business has its individual needs. If you’re a small business owner trying to decide between a hosted and an on premise IP PBX phone system solution contact the team at Key Technologies.
On-Premise IP PABX Phone System
More affordable than you think – plus we offer low cost maintenance.
Panasonic IP PABX Phone System
Installed, Inc. Trunk + Extension Cards, Conference + Voicemail Functionaility and 4 x Panasonic IP Handsets
To get pricing – call Key Technologies on 1300 755 615
With the roll-out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) and the increasing internet capability it brings nationwide we’re seeing an increase in VOIP phone systems in small and medium Brisbane business.
For the uninitiated VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, or in more common terms your phone service over the Internet. VOIP has become common place thanks to such services as Skype, Viber and even FaceTime for Apple users with VoIP Phone Systems becoming widely adopted by small and medium business.
[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”12025595″]
Using a cloud-based service means
With VOIP, analogue voice calls are converted into packets of data which travel in the same fashion as other data packets such as texts and e-mail – over the Internet. Depending on your service this may be sent via the public internet and/or a private Internet Protocol (IP) network.
How VoIP Works: At a Glance
An Internet connection of reasonable quality is required before you can get your phone service delivered through an Internet connection.
A VoIP phone system will enable your business to make and receive calls using landline telephones, at least, only requiring an analogue telephone adapter connected to your network.
A VoIP service will enable you to call landline, cell phones, and also computer-to-computer, with both parties using microphones and speakers (or headsets) connected to their computer.
VoIP services reduce the amount of equipment a business needs to own and maintain for their phone system.
A VoIP phone system will deliver the best Quality of Service (QoS) and security on a private IP network; this is because you can prioritize voice over other types of traffic on your network.
What Equipment Will My Business Need For A VoIP Phone System?
For a basic VoIP system, all you need is a broadband Internet connection and an adapter can convert your existing business phone system to handle VoIP capabilities; a computer with VoIP software would also suffice, however in its basic form this would not be integrated with your current phone system.
Advantages of a VoIP Phone System for Your Business
Lower Costs – You’ll save money and introduce cost certainty through bundling your voice and data lines deliver cheaper call rates on VoIP while maintaining call redundancy in case voice or data service issues.
Flexible – You can easily add, move, or change phone extensions and locations, which saves money and gives you more flexibility.
Scalable – VoIP services are provided via a data network (internet) rather than voice, so there is greater scope for increasing or reducing the number of phone lines to your business.
Portable – Your workforce can use your communications system from home or on the road.
Feature Packed – Wireless IP phones connect users to your communications system and data resources, such as customer information, while they’re in the warehouse, on the sales floor, or anywhere they can access your data network wirelessly.
Image sourced from fineartamerica
Disadvantages of a VoIP Phone System for Your Business
Call Quality – As noted above, the best Quality of Service (QoS) is best delivered over a private IP network where you can prioritize where your data is allocated.
Security – Being an internet based service VoIP phones are can be susceptible to attacks. A private IP network can address security concerns.
Dependent on Power – The modem, router, PC and other associated VoIP hardware requires a power source to function, in the event of a blackout your VoIP devices would be unable to work. For businesses who depend on their telecommunications a combination of voice and data would provide a redundancy.
Is VoIP the same as Unified Communications?
VoIP refers to a basic Internet-based telephony system. Unified communications solutions for small businesses go beyond basic VoIP capabilities in enhancing collaboration.
What is Unified Communications?
Unified Communications (UC) is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP telephony), video conferencing, desktop sharing, data sharing (including web connected electronic interactive whiteboards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user-interface and user-experience across multiple devices and media-types
Have a question about a VoIP Phone System for your business? Add it to the comments box below and we’ll answer it. To stay up to date with the latest articles connect with us directly on LinkedIn and Google+.