First of all, what exactly is a phone system? At it’s most literal, two phones joined by a telephone cable. For business deployment, and possibly some more sophisticated home users, there are three basic kinds you can choose.
The first category is the key, a manually operated switch. Lighted buttons on your handset allows you to see which lines are free and select a line and make the call yourself. These systems are not chosen so commonly these days. Very 90’s.
Next up is the PBX or private branch exchange, also known as a PABX. Here calls are routed directly, both within the network and externally. Used by larger organisations, they’re more versatile, and can incorporate additional facilities such as faxes (yes, some people still use these!) and modems. Features such as forwarding and voicemail can be included, plus the extra functionality extended to mobiles, smartphones and PDA’s.
Last but not least comes the hybrid. Combining many of the benefits of the other phone systems, they’re becoming increasingly popular. Smaller concerns particularly like them, as do the financial services industry.
Obviously, each will have its pro’s and con’s, their relative merits depending on where you’re looking from, as well as your size and sector. There are noticeable economies to be enjoyed, a good example being the way automatic trunk selection saves on labour. Equally important, modern phone systems can improve productivity and performance dramatically, both at individual and organisational level.
Now that’s settled, the next issue is where can you look to find suitable phone systems? In the dim distant past, companies often employed specialist dealers. Not wise, as they tend to only push phone systems they’re comfortable with such as Panasonic. With today’s choice, this is unnecessarily limiting, and denies attributes that would genuinely add value. The other alternative was to go to the other extreme and approach large telecoms vendors. However, these will only recommend their own phone systems, which again deprives you of numerous options.
Latterly, there is an alternate technology evolving. Sourcing your phone systems via the internet. You’ll enjoy significant savings in time and man hours by avoiding the need for personnel to travel to visit distributors, which may be nowhere near your own premises.
Using online suppliers for purchases of phone systems is rapidly maturing. With reduced overheads, such e-companies boast cost reductions they can pass on to the customer. They frequently have specialised knowledge too, and can offer you a great range of phone systems. In addition, they have the flexibility to tailor and install phone systems to meet your particular needs. With such advantages, the likes of the UK’s Abbey Telecom have grown seriously in recent years, and signpost the route forward. Think of them as the Amazons of the phone systems market.