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2013 Phone System Trends that You Need to Know About

With 2012 drawing to a close, astute minds in the business community are looking forward to the trends that will dominate office communications in the upcoming year. With telephone technology rapidly advancing at a pace not seen for at least the last half century, it's likely that 2013 will see major advances in the way communication is done both within the office and between employees and customers. A number of exciting new developments will likely transform the way phone calls are taken, voicemails are handled, and customers are interacted with.

The Business Phone System is Going to the Cloud

Over the past half-decade or so, businesses have been inundated with offers to switch their traditional landline phone system to a VoIP solution that offers a far better set of technological tools. From online voicemail inboxes to voicemail forwarding and remote call transfers, these systems paired the best of the internet with the reliability of landline communications.

In 2013, VoIP providers are poised to sweeten the tech deal for customers. While voicemails and call logs have long been available online, and increasingly large number of companies will be making the shift to fully cloud-based data this upcoming year. This means voicemails and call logs will be available from virtually anywhere, able to sync with mobile devices, other phone systems or office computers. The phone, in essence, is going to the cloud for access from any device at any time.

Unified Communications will Transform Customer Interaction

The proliferation of modern smartphones among the vast majority of people in offices today has allowed for a new development: unified communications. Essentially, the goal of unified communications is to promote a single app, be it on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop device, that allows for virtually all communications to be handled. Email, phone calls, text messages, and other methods of communications with business owners will be centralized into a single app, improving customer service techniques and leading to greater operational efficiency for businesses of all sizes.

In 2013, business owners should look forward to an app that will contain their voicemails, text messages, and emails. That same app will be used to place business calls to customers, and it can even be used to receive calls, as well as receive those transferred from another line or device.

Telecommuting Will Get Easier with Advanced Hosted PBX Services

Business VoIP solutions will make telecommuting easier this year, as they have done every year, each time they're adopted by business owners. Employers who adopted a hosted PBX solution are able to give their remote employees access to customer phone calls and the company's own virtual phone system. Voicemails and missed calls can be easily transmitted. With a number of teleconferencing technologies and collaboration tools built into business VoIP systems, remote employees will be more connected and productive than ever.

Of course, remote employees also allow a company to save a significant sum of money. When combined with the overall savings that comes from transition to hosted PBX, at least in many smaller and mid-sized office environments, this could finally be the year that businesses have a little wiggle room in their budgets after years of belt-tightening.

Intense Competition Will Drive Down the Price of Hosted PBX, Landlines

Hosted PBX solutions are a dime a dozen, with scores of companies offering to host business phone systems through internet bandwidth rather than on copper wires. The same competition does not characterize landlines, though it might start leading to even better prices for traditional phone systems throughout 2013.

This upcoming year, VoIP providers are going to be more determined than ever to make sure that they offer the leading value in the marketplace. That means more high-tech tools, less monthly expenses, and a better product for consumers and business owners alike. As they begin to compete even more strongly on price and features, it's likely that landline providers will feel more compelled to offer better deals on their own traditional phone systems. In 2013, business owners may finally owe less money to the phone company. That's a significant departure from normal.

Traditional Business Phone Systems Will Get some VoIP-Like Features

Phone systems have long been characterized by a distinctly lackluster feature set, even as VoIP alternatives have turned up the heat on landline providers to offer more robust tech tools. Today, the most cutting-edge tech tools offered by major landline companies include visual voicemail and digital call logs. Everything else is virtually excluded from landline operations, making them feel archaic.

In 2013, look for landline companies to be more competitive with technology. Hybrid systems that mix VoIP and landline phone systems will rise to prominence and offer a path to better tech for business owners. This transitional product will help phone companies retain their customers, too, making it a win-win in most cases.

A Year of Accelerated Technological Change

For business customers, the upcoming year looks to be one that transforms the office phone system into a cloud-based hub of communications activity. Even those who are sticking with a traditional system may be encouraged to "go hybrid" and embrace some new tools alongside legacy phone lines. It's going to be an exciting year for office communications, to be sure.