Unified Communications is the process in which all means of communication, communication devices and media are integrated, allowing users to be in touch with anyone, wherever they might be, in real-time.
PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange, which is a private telephone network used within a company or organization. The users of the PBX phone system share a number of outside lines for making external phone calls. A PBX also allows you to have more phones than physical phone lines (PTSN) and allows free calls between users. It also provides features like transfers, voicemail, call recording, interactive voice menus (IVRs) and ACD call queues. One of the latest tendencies in PBX phone system development is the VoIP PBX, also known as IP PBX, which uses the Internet Protocol to transmit calls.
Nowadays, there are four different PBX phone system options:
Hosted / Virtual IP PBX
A VoIP telephone, also known as a SIP phone or a softphone, allows the user to make phone calls to any softphone, mobile or land line by using Voice over IP (VoIP). A VoIP phone converts the standard telephone audio into digital format so the voice is carried through the internet instead of the traditional PSTN system. A VoIP telephone can be a simple software-based softphone or a hardware device that looks a lot like a common telephone.
Cost savings – the most attractive feature of VoIP is its cost-saving potential. VoIP reduces cost for equipment, lines, manpower, and maintenance. All of an organization’s voice and data traffic is integrated into one physical network, bypassing the need for separate PBX tie lines. Rich media service – VoIP technology makes rich media service possible, integrating with other protocols and applications. Rich media service not only provides multiple options of media to users but also creates new markets in the communications industry, such as VoIP service in mobile phones. Phone portability – VoIP provides number mobility: The phone device can use the same number virtually everywhere as long as it has proper IP connectivity. Many businesspeople today bring their IP phones or softphones when travelling, and use the same numbers everywhere. Service mobility – wherever the phone goes, the same services could be available, such as call features, voicemail access, call logs, security features, service policy, and so on. Integration and collaboration with other applications – VoIP protocols (such as Session Initiation Protocol [SIP], H.323) run on the application layer and are able to integrate or collaborate with other applications such as email, web browser, instant messenger, social-networking applications, and so on. Integration and collaboration create synergy and provide valuable services to users. Typical examples are voicemail delivery via email, click-to-call service on a website, voice call button on an email, presence information on a contact list, and so on. User control interface – most VoIP service providers supply a user control interface, typically a web GUI, to their customers so that they can change features, options, and services dynamically. For example, the users log in to the web GUI and change call forwarding number, speed dial, presence information (online, offline), black/white list, music-on-hold option, anonymous call block, and so on. No geographical boundary – the VoIP service area becomes virtualized without geographical limit. That is, the area code or country code is no longer bound to a specific location. Rich features – VoIP provides rich features like click-to-call on a web page, Find-Me-Follow-Me (FMFM), selective call forwarding, personalized ring tones (or ringback tone), simultaneous rings on multiple phones, selective area or country code, and so on.
For a basic VoIP system, you will require an IP Internet connection, a VoIP-enabled phone which can be plugged straight in to your Internet connection or a VoIP adapter (to be used with your standard telephone) or a computer with VoIP software. A lot of companies are now using VoIP and unified communications on their own private networks. Telephony systems consisting in private networks have better security and quality compared to those that operate strictly over the public Internet. With VoIP or unified communications on a private network, you can prioritize voice over other types of traffic on your network, to provide the highest audio quality possible.
VoIP refers to a basic Internet-based telephony system. Unified communications is more advanced, amid it’s multiple advantages are sophisticated call center features; conferencing that combines voice, data, video and desktop sharing, and presence, the ability to instantly determine the availability of others within your company.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology enables you to make and receive phone calls over an IP connection instead of over a traditional phone line. On VoIP doesn’t matter the distance between endpoints, it converts your voice signal from your telephone into a digital signal that travels over the Internet and converts it back at the other end so you can speak to anyone with a regular phone number.