Reliable communication is one of the most fundamental aspects of a successful business. While there are many different ways to stay in contact these days, having a reliable business phone system is still crucial.
Depending on your business’s needs, you may benefit from switching to a different type of office phone system. There are various different technologies and features when it comes to office phones, and it’s always a good idea to know your options before investing in a new system! Here’s what you need to know about the different types and features of business phone systems.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Phone Systems
With its affordability and highly customizable features, VoIP phone systems are a popular choice. One of the distinguishing features of a VoIP system is that it resides on a server on the premises. You will pay based on the number of users you have and the advanced features you want. This customizable system makes it very easy to add or remove users and connect other devices. You can have desk phones as well as mobile devices all connected to the VoIP system. Plus, you’ll have access to many helpful features, including voicemail forwarding to email or mobile devices.
If you are switching from landline to VoIP, you’ll need all new phones. Depending on the service you choose, you may have the option to either lease or buy your phone system, so that can potentially make it easier if you have lots of phones to upgrade. A potential downside is that VoIP quality depends on the quality of your internet connection. But if you have a good high-speed internet connection, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Hosted or Cloud-Based Phone Systems
If you want minimal onsite hardware and lots of flexibility, a hosted or cloud-based phone system may be the perfect solution! Other than routers and data switches, everything will be offsite rather than located in your office. You’ll need little more than a high-speed internet connection. The initial costs are very low and you will pay a monthly subscription fee.
You won’t be responsible for any of the maintenance or upgrades, so you can have peace of mind knowing that someone else is handling those tasks. You may be able to manage your hosted or cloud-based system yourself through an online interface.
Digital Phone Systems or PBX
Digital phone systems, also called Private Branch Exchange or PBX, are easily customizable and expandable. They generally use analog phone lines, but they offer far more capabilities and features than the typical analog phone system. As your needs change, you can easily expand your digital system or get additional features.
PBX systems are commonly used by organizations that need several different employee phones as well as external phone lines. As your company grows, you can continue to expand your digital phone system. However, digital systems do have some limitations, so they are often used in conjunction with IP technology to allow for greater versatility and more Internet-connected features.
Hybrid Phone Systems
If you need both digital and IP capabilities, a versatile hybrid system may be the perfect solution. In fact, we would recommend hybrid systems instead of digital phone systems in most cases. That way, you’ll have everything that a digital system is capable of – but at the same time, you’ll have extra features. For example, the IP part of the system can allow for email integration, where voicemails automatically get sent to your email.
With a hybrid system, there are several options when it comes to the technology. You can have a combination of analog trunks, PRI circuit, or SIP trunks. Working with an experienced telecommunications company is important when designing the right hybrid system for your needs.
Analog Phone Systems
As one of the earliest types of phone system, analog phones are a familiar feature in many offices around the world. They are built to handle multiple users at once, and you can add as many phone lines as you need. They transmit voice conversations via POTS, or plain old telephone service. In other words, they use physical phone lines, unlike newer systems that use the internet. The technology used in analog phone systems is very reliable and offers excellent voice quality and clarity.
The biggest downside of analog phone systems is that they don’t have as many advanced features available. They have all the basic features: transfer, speaker phone, redial, mute, hold, voicemail – but they often aren’t capable of much more than that. Also, while analog phone systems have gotten much better since they were first introduced in the 80s, they are no longer the main focus of telecommunications companies. Thus, analog systems are not continuing to evolve and improve.
What is the Best Solution?
So, what’s the best solution for your communications needs? The answer will vary from one office to the next. First, if you already have a phone system that you are looking to upgrade, ask yourself what is lacking with your current system.
- Does it lack the advanced features you need?
- Are there problems with reliability?
- Do you need something that can be expanded more easily as your business grows?
- Do you need a more budget-friendly option?
- Or, like so many companies today, do you need a system that works equally well for in-office and remote employees?
If you don’t already have a phone system in place, you’ll need to instead consider your future needs. What capabilities will you need? How many users will you have, and will any of them be working remotely? Would you rather rely on a high-speed internet connection or a traditional landline connection?
If you’re not sure what type of office phone system would work best for you, feel free to reach out to the Telco Data team! We will listen to your needs, survey your workplace, and help you figure out the ideal solution for your business’s office phone system. We’ll find the ideal carrier for your voice and internet services and ensure you have everything you need for reliable, streamlined communications!
Frequently Asked Questions About Office Phone Systems
What are the different types of business phone systems?
The main different types of office phone systems are VoIP, hosted/cloud-based, digital, and analog. You can also get a hybrid system that combines more than one of these technologies to get you the features you’re looking for.
How do you use the features of an office phone?
Depending on the type of phone system you have, you will either be able to access the features through your desktop phone, or you will be able to access them via a mobile device or computer. When we install a new system for your office, we are always glad to help you learn the features and functions.
How do office phone systems work?
Different types of phone systems use different technologies, but they all do the same basic thing: they allow you to communicate with others with inbound or outbound calling. Office phone systems allow you to communicate with others within your office and they also allow you to make or receive calls from outside your office. Office phone systems usually have helpful features like automatic call forwarding, and some can be integrated with business management software.
How do I set up my office phone system?
For best results, you should work with a local company to determine the best office phone system. They will help you get the best system for your needs and budget, and they will set it up for you so you don’t have to worry about whether you’re installing everything correctly.
How much does an office phone system cost per month?
An office phone system might have just a few phones or it might have several hundred phones, so there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer! A basic phone system might cost a minimum of $20-25/month with costs increasing based on the features and the number of users.