The old analogue telephone systems used pair of wires that ran from the local exchange to your house or office. In an office a PABX was the interface providing calls and functions to the desk handset. Your handset wasn’t portable and the best you could do, if you were out of the office, was to forward your number or leave it to go to voicemail.
So what do you use when we are required to work from home as a result of social distancing and self quarantining?
Voice over IP (VoIP) uses a cloud-based PBX that allows your handset to be located anywhere as long as it can get an internet connection. But it doesn‘t need to be a physical handset. You can use an app on your smartphone or a softphone (software) on your PC or MAC to connect to your office extension. When you use a softphone you can pair it with an audio headset or a personal/conference speakerphone.
The cloud-based PBX can be programmed with Find Me Follow Me, where you can have your desk phone, softphone and smartphone all ring at the same time. When you make calls they can appear to be from the main office number even if you’re at the beach (don’t tell the boss), interstate or overseas.
Here are some other common features of Voice over IP:
- Web based management provide a web interface to configure your cloud host. In most cases the service provider will setup your instance in consultation with you.
- Time based schedules can set automated open and closed rules based on time or day, day of week or a customer schedule, e.g. national holidays.
- Custom music on hold
- Direct In Dial allows you to assign a specific phone number to a specific user
- Virtual Receptionist who accepts the call and then provides prompts to the caller, e.g. Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Support, etc
- Ring Groups allow an incoming call to ring around the office until the call is answered
- Single button press to enable/disable Do not Disturb
- An internal phone book accessible from all desk phones
- Voicemail to email for when you miss that important call
- Call conferencing so you can bring together a group of people on one call (see alternate option using Teams)
- Call logs for call history and reporting
The IT Agency works with select VoIP service providers to ensure that they meet your business needs.