Telephone systems have become standard in business life. At the latest when several people work together they are indispensable. The requirement profiles look very different depending on the size of the company, communication requirements and organizational structure. Analog devices hardly play a role anymore, office communication is digital today. In most cases, telephone systems have to do much more than just handle several telephone calls simultaneously. Do companies then still need a telephone system at all? Definitely, because technology has kept pace. Classic telephone systems have become modern communication centers.
- Companies still have two different worlds of telecommunications. Half of them are still using analog or ISDN telephone systems, while the other half are already using digital technology and making calls via the Internet. VoIP telephone systems will be introduced in all companies in the coming years. The office communication of the future is decentralized and exclusively digital.
- Hybrid telephone systems offer a smart and gentle migration solution so that companies do not have to introduce new communication solutions with hard cuts. In the cloud, the analog and digital worlds are merged, costs are saved and peak loads are cushioned. These virtual telephone systems are also easily scalable and can therefore be easily adapted to the company’s development.
- In the future, the networking of communication channels in companies will continue to increase. Under the aspect of Unified Communications, communication and information will merge. Telephone systems must then also be able to communicate with ERP and CRM systems.
A little more than twenty years ago, telecommunication was mainly grey, slow and not very comfortable. Its distinguishing feature was one-way communication over one line. So telecommunications required a decision. First make a phone call, or first send a fax. Both at the same time was not possible. Telephone systems had the task of connecting different terminal devices with each other in order to be able to operate them centrally and regulate internal communication. The employees in a company could thus telephone with each other free of charge, instead of having to pay via the local telephone network.
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VOIP REPLACES ISDN
With the introduction of the ISDN transmission standard, the spectrum was opened up for the first time and the simultaneous use of several channels was made possible via fiber optic lines. Communication in both directions was possible. Today, telecommunication no longer takes place in self-sufficient networks, but is handled via the global infrastructure of the Internet. Telecommunications providers and network operators in Germany have made VoIP (Voice over IP) the new standard and want to ensure its widespread use by 2022 at the latest.
This also has an impact on telephone systems, which have long since ceased to be gray boxes. Because information technology and communication technology are increasingly merging, modern telephone systems are primarily software applications, virtual telephone systems that do not even require a telephone. When choosing a PBX, companies should therefore look for communication solutions that meet current and also expected technological requirements, while at the same time keeping pace with the development of decentralized work processes.
IP-TELEPHONE SYSTEMS ON THE ADVANCE
Studies show that IP telephone systems are already very common in companies. Cloud-based telephone systems and unified communication systems are even less in use. The extent to which new technologies are used is determined on the one hand by industry affiliation, work processes, organizational structure and also the workforce. Because younger employees, for example, also use chat systems and collaboration services for communication, telephone systems must enable a broad mix of communication technologies. Cloud telephone systems in particular offer this spectrum and also have another advantage.
CLOUD-BASED TELEPHONE SYSTEMS FACILITATE MIGRATION
They are ideally suited to help companies migrate from an ISDN system to a modern VoIP system. This interim solution, known as a hybrid telephone system, enables a smooth transition, at least temporarily linking the analog and digital worlds. On the one hand, this secures investments in existing telephone systems because no hardware replacement is required, allows transition scenarios without hard breaks and helps to save telephone costs at the same time. Hybrid systems are also often used to cushion peak loads that smaller, classic systems could not otherwise handle. Load peaks can be triggered by sales campaigns, for example, which trigger an increased caller volume. But they can also occur in offices where there is a high workload on only a few days, for example in shared offices of field staff.
USABILITY IS A BASIC REQUIREMENT
In practice, it has been shown time and again that although telephone systems have an extensive range of services, these are hardly ever called up and used. On the one hand, oversized systems are one reason for this, on the other hand it is the user-friendliness. Telephone systems must be easy to operate so that they are accepted by the workforce and so that training costs are kept to a minimum. The more intuitive a function is and the sooner its advantage is recognized, the more likely it is to be used. Telephone systems must solve communication problems in companies and not create new ones.
Despite numerous advantages and the imminent nationwide network changeover, cloud-based telephone systems are only used by around one in three companies. Companies have reservations about outsourcing operational and business-critical processes to the cloud. A fact that can be observed in information applications, but also in telecommunications.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION MERGE
At the same time, the demands on operational communication are also increasing. More and more often, companies are being organized decentrally, home offices are becoming the norm and sales representatives are only called to headquarters for meetings. Conferences and meetings are held in digital rooms using video telephony, must also take mobile telephony into account and are also directly connected to the corporate information applications. These trends in corporate communication cannot be stopped. This makes it all the more important for companies to set the right course early on and to install a technology-open and scalable system for a telephone system. The seamless integration of CRM and ERP systems with a telecommunications solution provides companies with higher productivity and flexible work processes. Telecommunications system providers must guarantee security standards and a high level of reliability.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT TELEPHONE SYSTEMS
The litmus test for operational processes in many companies was the beginning of the Corona pandemic. Companies with old infrastructure and outdated facilities were left behind. Companies looking for new solutions for their telephone system will find initial answers here.
What is an ISDN system?
ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and is a telephone standard based on a fiber optic cable. This made it possible for the first time in telecommunications to operate a line with two channels simultaneously. In the mid-1990s, Germany was equipped with an ISDN network almost nationwide. However, to use an ISDN line, an ISDN-capable terminal or an ISDN telephone system is required. The systems allowed the use of up to 10 telephone numbers per line. This revolutionized communication, especially in small and medium-sized companies. Digital transmission improved voice transmission and fax transmission was faster.
What is a VOIP telephone system?
Voice over IP (VoIP) stands for the use of the Internet as a communication channel. Voice information is transported in small packets over the Internet. In the early years of VoIP telephony, the data transfer rates were not yet sufficient to make every telephone call smoothly. With the DSL or fiber optic connections commonly used today, however, problem-free telephone calls are possible. Because the telecom providers want to implement their offer nationwide by 2022, VoIP telephony is becoming the standard. A VoIP telephone system is either locally installed hardware or software, but can also be operated as a virtual telephone system via the cloud. In addition to the usual range of functions of a telephone system, VoIP systems primarily offer integration into business software applications.
How does a telephone system work?
Telecommunication systems allow to make toll-free telephone calls between each other via the public telephone network. They can also transfer a telephone call from one telephone to another telephone within a company. With the use of ISDN, telephone conferences with several participants were also possible, telephone calls could be interrupted without ending the conversation. Furthermore, calls could be forwarded to other telephones within or outside the network. Telephone systems with ISDN standard also provided for the spreading of the waiting loop with background music. With the age of VoIP telephony, the demands and characteristics of telephone systems, which are now primarily software applications, also changed.
How much does a telephone system cost?
The costs for a telephone system depend very much on the range of functions and above all on the size of the company. The more users a system has to process, the more complex its configuration and consequently the more expensive it is. The connection to other systems, the ability to scale and above all the speed of the line also affect the price. For small companies, the costs are at least about 200 euros. In return, they receive a high-performance router with system functions. End devices or a headset are then added and can cost several hundred euros depending on the equipment. Medium-sized companies have to estimate several thousand euros for the basic system and end devices. Operators of cloud-based telephone systems offer subscription models whose price depends on the desired scope of services.