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October 20, 2008
Virtual PBX: How it Works, Who it Benefits and Why You Need It
By Michelle Robart, TMCnet Editor
 
Businesses of all sizes are beginning to realize the numerous benefits of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). One popular business VoIP option that is gaining momentum in the VoIP industry due to its affordable and easy set-up is virtual PBX (News - Alert). With a virtual PBX arrangement, a telephony system is provided through an Internet download and then managed by an outside service. It offers an affordable and easy-to-set-up means for a business to use VoIP services.
 
This type of system helps companies and entrepreneurs establish a more professional image and allows them to quickly expand their businesses. However, the process of searching for a virtual PBX solution can be a bit overwhelming- where do you begin?
 
Some services excel in providing businesses with a diverse range of calling features but make it difficult to combine those features without increasing the cost of the calling plan significantly. Other providers may offer basic services at a low cost but might be unable to grow with the business's need for enhanced calling features.
 
Before a business chooses a virtual PBX service plan, it should first be able to grasp what services are available and how they work.
 
What Is Virtual PBX?
 
PBX stands for private branch exchange, or a telephone exchange system that serves one business. PBX was first introduced so companies could manage their phone systems through in-house operators. Today, instead of just connecting calls, PBX systems also connect fax machines, computer modems, and other types of technology that transmit through phone lines.
 
From the very beginning, businesses embracing VoIP were interested in using PBX systems, but they had to find a way to do so without spending a fortune. This is where hosted PBX came in – instead of a telephone exchange system being located at the business, it is located at the site of the VoIP host. With hosted VoIP, a small business can benefit from a comprehensive VoIP system without having to maintain a staff to keep that system working.
 
Similar to VoIP systems beginning to offer a variety of new features, virtual PBX providers have expanded their services to include messaging, call-forwarding, and call-waiting options, as well as advanced calling features such as automatic dialing. Virtual PBX hosting also provides advanced features that are unique to the integration of the phone and computer.
 
Nextiva offers hosted VoIP services that are ideal for small businesses looking for an affordable and easy way to get advantages that only large enterprises could afford.
For entrepreneurs and small-business professionals, Nextiva Connect is a centralized solution that answers all of a company’s calls professionally, routing them to any phone. Nextiva Connect allows a business to use its existing phones or PCs to receive calls anywhere, and choose a local or toll-free number.
 
The Nextiva Connect360 is a complete digital phone solution for any type of business. It is flexible enough to handle company growth and all that is needed is a high-speed Internet connection. This affordable business communication solution provides ease of use, manageability, scalability, reliability and unparalleled enterprise-class functionality.
 
As a business phone service provider, Nextiva owns and operates its own telecommunications and data equipment. The company has also invested millions of dollars in redundant collocated switching platforms, data connections and termination providers. This means that Nextiva is not reselling services to consumers that they are buying from other providers. There is no “middle man” to pay or be dependent on, and that means a more cost effective, robust and reliable infrastructure.
 
Among a number of other benefits, virtual PBX requires no extra hardware and little training; as a result, it requires lower startup costs for the business. 
 
Because Nextiva’s VoIP solutions are hosted, all of the software is located on secure servers at Nextiva datacenters. The control panel for a phone system is accessible from any computer that has Internet access. Changing extensions, forwarding lines, and setting up voicemail require just a few mouse-clicks. In addition, if a business moves, there is no PBX equipment to move, no phone numbers to change and no downtime.
 
The integration of voice and data features allows for ease of communication within the business itself. Since virtual PBX services host video, voice, and data conferencing, a company can achieve remote collaboration without spending extra money on software or hardware. Moreover, virtual PBX systems provide an online way to track call data, which can assist with billing and budgeting.
 
To learn more about Nextiva’s virtual PBX solutions, please visit: http://www.nextiva.com/.
 
 
 

Michelle Robart is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Michelle's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart


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