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January 14, 2014
St. Louis Finds Virtual PBX Ideal After Bitter Cold
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

There’s nothing like a little bit of water in the wrong place to ruin your day. Whether it’s rain on your favorite suede shoes, an overflow from the second floor bathtub or a burst pipe flooding the neighborhood, it generally means you have to shift to a contingency plan. If virtual PBX is already in place, that shift is an easy one to make.

The police force in St. Louis County learned this first-hand when a water pipe broke and forced the temporary relocation of its communications center. While repairs to the pipe were being made, all emergency calls were transferred to an operations building in Chesterfield. The computer reports center also had to be moved to central police records until the system was back to normal.

Moving communications centers is not a new trend, especially when disasters complicate everyday operation. Hurricanes can hit hard, power outages can last for hours and tornados wreak havoc with little warning. For government agencies, non-profits and commercial entities, the key is to have the right contingency plan in place, so that communications and operations can continue without a hitch.

In St. Louis, the continuity was possible thanks to virtual PBX (News - Alert), which allowed all phone numbers to stay the same with no lapse in communication. Such seamless operation is critical for emergency responders, as well as the corporate entity that aims to keep its doors open even after a tragedy ensues. In the Gateway (News - Alert) city, such continuity was critical as bitter cold conditions early last week led to a number of main breaks and pipe bursts throughout the metropolitan area.

Thanks to next generation communications, all calls got through as responders were able to address caller issues.

Such reliability is essential for any operation. After all, as soon as a customer can’t through on the line, the potential for a lost sale exists. With virtual PBX, the phone system is hosted from another location, often far from the disaster that causes the outage. Operations stay intact and customer communications never miss a beat.

If your business can survive regardless of the health of your communications, the virtual PBX may not be the right fit. If you instead can’t afford to miss a call and want to ensure availability regardless of outside forces, the hosted option may make good business sense. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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