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Hosted PBX vs. Traditional Phone Systems: Which Option is Right for You?

Today's business owners are increasingly inundated with special offers and promotional materials for hosted PBX solutions, that allow their business to take their phone calls digital. These systems are often sold as price leaders, reducing overhead and allowing a more liberated way of taking calls even when employees aren't in the office. Traditional phone systems, though, still represent the vast majority of business telephone systems and they carry some unique advantages that hosted PBX systems can't yet compete with.

Each system is right for different kinds of businesses, and different business environments, based on its features and capabilities. Before making a definitive choice between hosted and traditional phone systems, be sure to make a few considerations about the benefits of each choice.

Small Businesses Can Benefit from the Lower Costs of a Hosted PBX Solution

Hosted PBX systems are generally far lower to install and initialize than more traditional phone systems in larger offices. That's because all of the hardware and most of the software required for these systems is hosted remotely, maintained by the service provider rather than by the office itself. The hosted PBX system typically features a fixed monthly rate well below the rate charged by traditional phone companies, allowing it to be far more accessible to small business owners.

Larger businesses may still make the switch to hosted PBX, but they'll experience a larger cost when transitioning to a remote solution. Monthly subscription prices will also escalate based on how many lines and voicemail inboxes the company requires. Typically, hosted PBX solutions include a standard number of lines and inboxes. After that number, fees increase incrementally as more lines are added to the system. For all but the biggest companies, this cost is too large to fit into most corporate budgets.

Businesses with Lots of Telecommuters and Distributed Employees Need PBX

One of the great benefits of hosted PBX systems is that they can transcend the four walls of the traditional office building. Because these systems run over the internet, rather than over copper wiring supported by phone companies, the calls that are made and received using a hosted PBX system can take place virtually anywhere. If an employer has lots of workers who frequently work from home and telecommute, a hosted PBX system will allow them to make and receive calls, and even receive call transfers, throughout the day.

This accessibility to calls is further enhanced by the development of smartphone applications for most major platforms, allowing employees to check their voicemail inboxes and place calls from their existing smartphone device. There is no additional equipment to buy, and the software is typically free with a hosted PBX subscription. For those companies that have embraced a 21st century work environment where many people do not have to be present in the office on a daily basis, hosted PBX is the best way to link everyone together with a unified telecommunications solution.

Advanced Calling Features are More Accessible and Affordable with Hosted PBX

It's pretty clear that hosted PBX represents a significant technological leap for businesses that rely on telecommuting. The major development driving hosted PBX solutions is that they rely on the internet, rather than on traditional phone lines, making calls portable and easily manageable off-site. But there are other developments that have boosted the appeal of hosted solutions even among companies that don't have a larger number of remote workers.

Hosted PBX systems are able to more easily start phone conference calls than other solutions. they offer visual voicemail applications that can be accessed via web browser, smartphone app, or tablet app. Business-targeted hosted PBX solutions allow for voicemail forwarding that can't be done with traditional phone system implementations. In every case, the unique, digital nature of hosted PBX makes it a better fit for companies that need access to these features. Because they are all cloud based, features like voicemail forwarding and visual inboxes can be accessed from anywhere in the world. This helps to advance the company's communication goals and productivity levels around the clock.

A More Competitive Marketplace Offers Long-Term Benefits

The traditional business phone system is basically non-competitive. Most telephone companies no longer have any meaningful competition for landline services, and long distance costs are generally a thing of the past in all but the rarest cases. Hosted PBX, though, is still very much an emerging market. That means the marketplace is full of competitors who are looking to offer more features at a lower overall cost to business and private consumers.