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Benefits of an IP-PABX | Financial Gazette

Benefits of an IP-PABX

Now that we know what VoIP is and it's requirements for deployment, today we are touching on what part a PABX or an IP-PABX, which is business tool, plays in providing VoIP. If you missed last articles, ''What is VoIP Part 1 and part 2'' or any of the articles we have published so far, please feel free to me by email for a free copy. Enjoy.

Introduction

In case you missed the first article on PABX systems, a quick definition of IP PABX - is a complete telephone system, which allows one to make telephone calls on the IP networks. All conversations are converted into data packets that are transmitted over the network.

As such basically, an IP-PABX will typically consist of an IP phones or soft clients. IP phones are phones that use the internet to carry voice. Soft clients are like computer applications that can run on your PC or smart phone to make and receive calls. There are numerous types of soft phones that you can download and make phone calls by simply plugging headphones into your computer. After that you will need an IP-PABX which is basically a combination of hardware running call switching software. You can legally run your own IP based telephone network for your organization without having to traverse into any GSM, CDMA or land line network. This is very useful if have a branch network and you want to save costs of making a telephone call by using your normal land line.

Benefits

Easy to install â€“ IP based PABX systems are far much easy to install and deploy because of their open standard nature which do not depend on one particular vendor. For comparison, your present legacy phone system often requires the presence of an experienced specialist is on this system!

Easy to Manage â€“ IP-PABX system can be managed via your internet browser. No need to learn complicated commands or programming to manage it. These PABXs are managed the same way you access your Facebook account via a web browser of your choice Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome etc. Instead of typing the internet friendly address which starts with www , you simply type in the IP address of the IP-PABX in the address bar. From that point you enter your admin credentials in the form of a user name and a password and bingo, you have access into your PABX to add / remove users.

Cost Savings â€“ when connected to Internet Telephony providers your cost of making Internet based calls is drastically reduced. To an extent that from your local PABX if you have channels setup over IP (SIP Trunking), you can make international calls at the cost of local calls. Think along the lines of how you Skype. That's Internet Telephony which can easily be integrated into an IPPABX system. If you have branch offices, you can easily connect with the telephone system between offices and make free phone calls. Say you have a mining operation in Kadoma and a processing plant in Bulawayo and a sales and admin office in Harare, you can now make free IP based calls by just dialing the other branch's extension. Good bye to long distance charges.

Remove the telephone wires â€“ IP-PABX allows you to connect hardware phones directly to a standard computer network port (which it can be used together with the adjacent computer). Software phones can be installed directly on the computer. Now you can get rid of the telephone wires and to simplify the movement and adding additional branches. In new offices, you can completely get rid of them and use the additional ports for phones!

Eliminate vendor lock in â€“ this you know better with legacy PABX suppliers and installers. No need to mention names here but this is how they lock you in. Their technology for the PABX is proprietary and is not open standard. This means only them can add or remove features which they can ONLY supply with no other variety of choices and options. You can now use any SIP hardware or software phone with any SIP IP PABX, PSTN gateways or providers of VOIP provider. With these IPPABX systems you do not need to always contact your vendor for minor issues which you can easily fix using your web browser. Imagine you have a resort Hotel in Nyanga and every time want to delete a user or change the music on hold on your greeting system you have to call a technician usually based in Harare to come and do that. In most cases the technician won't be available readily and you might have to wait for some days or even weeks for him. I P-Based systems don't have this inherent vendor lock characteristic.

Scalability â€“ this is the ease with which a system can adapt to the increased number of users than when it was deployed. With legacy and traditional PABX systems this is a pain as most of them were not designed with inherent growth factors. Adding new phones or phone lines often requires expensive hardware modules. In some cases you need a completely new telephone system. With SGC IP-PABX systems, an upgrade of software and daisy chaining of additional resources can be done without need of a techie coming on site. Remember IP-PABX is software based and if the need arises the technician can log-in remotely and do a few upgrades from the comfort of his work place or from his car at a lay bye with a 3G connection - just add more phones to your network to expand!

More power for lower price -Since IP-PABX is the software centric; developers can easily add and improve features to it. Most telephone systems VOIP phone systems come with a rich set of features, including voice mail, call conferencing , built in auto attendant , music on hold , blind and referred call transfers , call me back , find me follow me , customizable music on hold , call detail records , instant messaging , and much more. These opportunities are often very expensive in legacy systems.

Hot desking and roaming â€“ this is the ability to move the IP phones from one location to another seamlessly. A worker might still work from a different location from HQ and still be reached via his own extension even away from office. She literally might be out of the country but can still log into the IP-PABX and use headphones to receive calls from home!

Conclusion

So if you have a branch network and Wide Area Network, take advantage of IP-PABXs and reduce your telephone costs, through VoIP. In addition, you will also have access to state of the art features which will help improve productivity in your organisation.

For more information, questions and/or comments, contact, Cornwell Nemberi, Chief Executive of Standard Global Communications, at cornwell@standardglobal.co.zw

24 March 2011

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