As if all the acronyms and jargon present in the technology language aren’t bad enough, the industry can’t even decide on a standard name for some services.
Hosted PBX is one of those services.
It is interesting the results you get when you do a Google™ search for hosted PBX. The results will, of course, include hosted PBX; virtual PBX; Cloud PBX; Hosted Virtual PBX (is that hosted hosted?); Cloud / Hosted PBX; Cloud (Hosted) PBX and the list goes on.
There are a few versions of the origins of the term “cloud computing”. One idea stems from the diagrams which were drawn by IT companies when explaining outsourcing or hosting, that fluffy cloud which was the centre of all operations. Another suggests a Google executive in 2006 mentioned services and infrastructure should be in a cloud somewhere. Whatever the origins all it means is software, in this case your PBX is not in-house, it is hosted externally and accessed via the internet.
The use of “virtual” has been around for quite some time, most commonly a VPN or Virtual Private Network, a secure means for companies with offices in disparate locations to communicate via the internet.Again, the software and infrastructure being used is remote to the user, it is hosted elsewhere.
In most instances it comes back to hosting, which is not a new idea, it has been around since the 90’s but the terminology changes to suit the times or some marketing guru somewhere thought it was time for rebranding.
Cynicism aside, technology has improved, the internet is now part of our everyday lives, bandwidth has also improved and so hosting is a very viable, efficient option for a business of any size. Removing costly infrastructure from in-house operations removes the need for maintenance, replacement of equipment and frees up your IT team to do more constructive and creative tasks.
Most hosted PBX is paid for on a subscription basis and no lock in contracts which makes budgeting easy. You also pay for what you get, so the basic package will cost less than one with all the bells and whistles but then you get to choose which bells and/or whistles you want for your business.
Hosting is the way to go particularly if you have offices in various locations and a mobile workforce, the benefits are many – cost and efficiency being at the top of the list.
So whichever term a provider uses, it comes down to the same thing, your PBX is no longer in-house with you maintaining it, it is setup remotely and accessed via the internet, leaving you to get on with the more important task of running your business.
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