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November 13, 2008
The Evolution of Virtual PBX
By Michelle Robart, TMCnet Editor
 
What goes on behind company walls to keep their communications flowing? Well, thanks to virtual PBX (News - Alert) (Private Branch eXchange) systems, hundreds of incoming company calls are able to be automatically routed to individuals and at the same time, those individuals are placing calls, sending and receiving voicemails, e-mails and faxes with their desk phones and over the Internet using their PC. 

By converging voice, messaging and data, individuals and companies are able to improve overall efficiency and reduce overall cost. This allows companies to become more and more competitive.
 
As an increasing amount of businesses begin to rely on VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol), virtual PBX systems have become a popular choice. With a virtual PBX set-up, a telephony system is provided through an Internet download and then managed by an outside service, offering an affordable and easy way for businesses to use VoIP. Virtual PBX systems can help companies and entrepreneurs create a more professional image that lets them quickly expand their businesses.
 
Before virtual PBX systems, a company’s incoming calls were manually connected by an operator using switchboards and cords.
 
The last 30 years or so have transitioned switchboards into the electronic age, and through PBX technology, many businesses no longer depend on telephone companies to place internal calls. Today, many companies use internal telephone switchboards, known as IP PBX systems, a development on PBX which now incorporates both IP technology and VoIP networks.
 
Today, virtual PBX technology is taking on a whole new realm- the Internet world. Instead of routing calls through old circuits, contemporary PBX solutions use the Internet protocol to send and receive information.
 
In order to figure out what virtual PBX plan will work best for them, businesses need to asses their calling needs and do research on which providers offer the most affordable rates for the features they want.
 
When researching, look for companies that have several set calling plans. For example, Nextiva offers two very affordable rate plans based on the size of a business. For small businesses or entrepreneurs who spend a lot of time traveling, NextivaConnect is a centralized solution that answers all calls and routes them to any phone- home, cell, and/or office. For only $8.95 per month, businesses can have a toll-free number, an auto-attendant to answer and route all calls, call forwarding and much more.
 
For $29.95 per month, businesses receive Fortune 500 phone service with Nextiva Connect 360. This service includes unlimited calling to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada along with professional features like an auto-attendant, hunt groups, find me/follow me, voicemail to e-mail, and more.
 
The integration of the IP interface has greatly enhanced and expanded the functionality of virtual PBX systems. Now, instead of being restricted to the office, users can work from anywhere in the world, and still experience the full variety of their network's virtual PBX features.
 

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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