A business telephone system, abbreviated as a BTX, is a multi-line telephone network usually utilized in small to medium business environments, containing mostly networks ranging from the main local phone network to the company’s private branch exchange. These networks are typically run through a private switched telephone network (SPOT) and/or a hosted private network (PBX). Although businesses may use a traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN), most often businesses utilize a virtual private network instead. Virtual private networks have become increasingly popular due to their cost-effectiveness and are ideal for small, medium, or larger businesses.
Most business telephone systems have been upgraded to accommodate virtual systems, as they allow companies to save money by using VoIP technology for call processing and call forwarding. The older PSTN technologies require one to contact each extension individually to communicate with callers. For this reason, some providers are providing automated attendant services which can be accessed by dialing a designated number. This dialing process requires the callers to press the “unanswered” key when attempting to connect with the extensions. An automated attendant provides an automated experience by greeting callers with a pre-recorded message and forwarding calls to the assigned extension.
Business telephone systems often include a feature that allows the user to obtain no-obligation quotes. An answering service generally provides these quotes at no cost, and many providers offer multiple quotes. These quotes allow users to compare prices from different providers, which is the easiest way for them to find the best deal. Business telephone systems usually provide caller ID with customizable screens, which allows users to provide contact information for all callers. Some of the features may include options for adding numbers and alternate extensions.
Small to medium businesses typically opt for hosted business telephone systems. Hosted solutions are hosted on servers maintained by service providers, and users to sign up to use these services. The service provider maintains all hardware and software requirements, which reduces technical staff requirements. The company does not provide any telecommunication functions, although it does provide routing capabilities and toll free numbers. Companies that have a large number of callers may benefit from self-hosted solutions. However, self-hosted solutions are costly than traditional hosting.
The most popular way to set up an automated attendant to handle incoming calls is through hosted PBX VoIP (Private Branch eXchange) solutions. Business telephone systems usually includes an interface gateway that connects it to a private IP network. Through this interface, users can route calls to extensions and can configure custom voicemail and e-mail servers. Hosted PBX VoIP solutions also provide call routing as well as advanced call accounting and reporting features.
Hosted business telephone systems usually include automatic call forwarding, which forwards calls to extensions when appropriate. This feature makes it possible for business owners to route calls to answering machines or to their cell phone when applicable. Another feature that comes with many hosted solutions is auto-attendant. An auto-attendant allows callers to be connected to an available attendant who greets callers in their respective offices. Automatic call forwarding and voicemail are particularly useful for companies whose employees do not use computer systems.
Hosted solutions used to be expensive, but the trend has changed in recent years due to a number of hosted solutions that are now offered at affordable prices. Most of these solutions utilize open source software that enable it to run efficiently and effectively even on lower-end computers. A multi-line telephone systems used to be expensive but they are now becoming more affordable. Hosted solutions can help companies reduce operating costs.
Business telephone systems used to incorporate a PBX system, but those systems are now replaced by hosted PBX solutions. A virtual PBX service provider offers businesses a low-cost alternative to public branch exchanges (PBXs) and voice over IP telephony. Private branch exchanges are similar to IP telephony in that they use a public network to transmit calls between branch offices instead of using traditional phone lines. However, a private branch exchange functions in a way similar to a PBX solution. A hosted private branch exchange company offers a wide range of features that are comparable to traditional private branch exchange solutions and they cost approximately the same as traditional PBX solutions.