When does a person call your office, who answers? It’s likely someone at the front desk, such as a receptionist. The call probably has to go to another employee at your company, and sometimes multiple calls will come in at once. Luckily, we have a business telephone system to make seamless transitions from line to line.
The advancement of the business telephone system is a fascinating one that dates back to the 1800s. As technology has continued to become more of a part of our everyday lives, it has, of course, crept into the world of business telephone systems as well. Today, cloud-based phone systems have become a viable option for business people.
If you’re considering a business telephone system for your office, you’re going to want to educate yourself on the topic before coming to a decision. That’s why, in this article, we’ll define a business telephone system as well as explain the various types and necessary components. We’ll even delve into cloud-based phone systems in case you’re thinking of getting one of those.
What Is a Business Telephone System?
As we hinted at in the intro, a business telephone system is designed to accommodate busy office environments and allow for multiple calls to be rerouted at once. This is incredibly convenient for all employees at the office because the calls can be directed to the appropriate parties. It also benefits the caller, who can immediately reach the desired party even without necessarily knowing the number to their direct line.
A business telephone system is not the same as a central office line. These are an element of key telephone systems, which we’ll discuss later in the article. With central office lines, call handling is the crux of the system. Business telephone systems can accommodate many other features, as you’ll soon learn.
A Little Bit History of Business Telephone System
To understand what an asset a business telephone system is, it helps to refer back to the history of the telephone network. These networks first began appearing towards the end of the 1800s. To route a call, the telephone company had to use a manual switchboard. Yes, it was someone’s job to move all calls to the appropriate parties back then.
What came next was a private branch exchange or PBX system. At the time, they were referred to as private automated branch exchanges or PABXs, but the A was later dropped.
It wouldn’t be until the 1960s that PBX systems were introduced as a solution to skyrocketing telephone network costs. PBX systems at the time still made use of a switchboard, as late as 1975. Still, businesses then were thrilled to have another solution than manual switchboards, and so they gladly used PBX systems.
BX Systems, Like Any Other Tech, Continued To Evolve.
Eventually, Time Division Multiplexers or TDM PBX systems rolled out. Now, companies had the option to add hold music, use auto-attendants, transfer calls, and have a dial tone. This was huge!
For a while, PBX system technology kind of stalled until the Internet boomed in the late ‘90s/early 2000s. This was a good thing, too, because if your company had a ‘70s-era PBX system, it was very pricy and difficult to update.
Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP became the norm in 2008. We’ll talk a lot more about VoIP systems later in this article, so don’t miss it. For now, we’ll say the creation of VoIP PBX systems allowed for speech-to-text features in voicemail, call recording, and unified messaging. It also helped businesses get rid of their old, clunky PBX systems from decades prior.
These days, business phone systems have become even more advanced thanks to the cloud.