Cloud-based technologies are all over the media these days. Cloud computing, cloud storage, cloud printing - the list goes on. So what is a
Cloud PBX, and how can it help your business? We'll show you in this primer article. Note: this term is essentially synonymous with Hosted PBX.
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Comparison to Traditional PBX
First off, let's briefly look at a traditional PBX, which will help us illustrate why a cloud PBX is superior. PBX stands for "private branch exchange." Basically, this means a relatively sophisticated business phone system that connects various employees together, and provides for features such as voicemail, autoattendants, conference calling, and more. You may have seen a PBX "box" before - it's a large panel, typically in a back room, with many phone lines coming in and out.
Although traditional on-site PBX systems were often powerful, they suffered from a number of distinct drawbacks, including:
- Initial capital cost: typically, a traditional PBX costs thousands to install and configure
- Ongoing costs: because changes to a PBX usually mean rewiring, only specialized technicians can service it. This means service costs each time a change is required
- Lack of flexibility: because a traditional PBX is a physical piece of equipment, it cannot be easily modified or upgraded
- Redundancy: because the PBX resides only in one location, the company's phone service is entirely dependent on it. There is no "backup system"
Cloud PBX Benefits
In comparison, a cloud PBX more than outmatches an on-site PBX for feature set. More importantly, cloud technology greatly improves upon the PBX concept, and resolves the pain points of its technological ancestor.
Here are some of the many advantages of a cloud-based PBX implementation.
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- Greatly reduced initial capital outlay: there is no "box" to purchase
- Reduced ongoing costs: clients can easily self-manage a cloud PBX
- Highly flexible: thanks to cloud technology, your PBX can be reconfigured at a moment's notice
- Reliability: a cloud PBX can run on multiple separate servers, meaning there is no single point of failure
- Grows with you: you can easily add capacity to a cloud-based PBX at any time as your company grows
- Local Presence: now you can easily have phone numbers in any areas important to your business, even if your staff are physically located elsewhere
- Deployment time: thanks to its virtual nature, a cloud PBX can be up and running in as little as 24 hours
Cloud Concepts in a Graphic
Although the illustration below is considerably simplified, it demonstrates the fundamental concept behind our cloud technology. You can also click the image below if you'd like to get a quote. Back to Top
Cloud PBX Features
Below is only a partial list of the many features possible through Jive's cloud PBX service. We encourage you to review the complete lists of our included and optional Hosted PBX features, seen at Included Features
and Optional Features.
An auto-attendant is a prerecorded "menu" system that can be used to direct callers to different departments or employees within your company. Read More
Business Hour Rules
Easily set the days and times during which callers can reach your staff via phone. You can use Business Hour Rules to create different phone call behaviours based on day and time. Read More
This feature lets you see the name and number of the person calling you before you answer. You can also use this feature to display your company's name and phone number when you call out. Read More
Call Forwarding lets you forward your extension to a cell phone, regular telephone or another employee. When you leave the office, you can forward your extension and receive your calls anywhere. Read More
Listen to calls for quality assurance or training purposes and whisper to the agent without the caller being able to hear you. For instance, with this feature a new sales person could listen in on a call and whisper instructions or suggestions to the new sales person. Read More
Call Recording is possible using one of two methods. You can use a soft phone to quickly and selectively record calls you make or receive. Read More.
For the second method, see Call Recording, server-side
Connect staff or clients together so that you can hold team meetings or demonstrations. Our VoIP phones natively support up to three parties on a conference call. Read More.
For a larger number of conference participants, use our Conference Bridging
Custom Hold Music / Info
While callers are waiting to be connected to a department or are waiting on hold for the next available representative they can hear music or promotional messages. Read More
When customers don't know the extension number of an employee, they can use the Dial-By-Name directory customers to enter the first or last name of an employee and be transferred to the correct person immediately. Read More
Employees can work from anywhere with Jive's Hosted PBX - fron home, on their cell phone, at a hotel or another office. Calls can be sent to multiple locations at once giving you the opportunity to pick up the call no matter where you are at the moment. Read More
Find-Me / Follow-Me
Find-Me / Follow-Me lets you select multiple locations to dial when someone calls you. If you were to specify a cell phone, your office business phone and a telephone at another branch office the system will call all these telephones at the same time. Read More
Keep Your Phone Numbers
There is no need to get new phone numbers when switching to our service. We can transfer numbers from most areas throughout North America, with no interruption in service. To determine whether your numbers are portable, please speak to your Jive representative. Read More
No Busy Signals
Our Dedicated Lines plan provide you with unlimited calling capacity so that customers will never hear a busy signal. Rest assured your staff will be able to handle even an unexpectedly high volume of calls. Read More
North American Long Distance
Jive's plans include long distance in the USA & Canada with no per minute charges!See Terms and Conditions for details. Read More
Online Call Records
Use our web interface to easily track the details of incoming and outgoing calls, such as: date and time, who called your company, which of your staff placed outgoing calls, duration of each call, and much more. Read More
A soft phone is a telephone that runs on your computer using a headset. It allows you to make and receive calls using your computer over the internet from anywhere. Our service is compatible with popular soft phones such as X-Lite, Eyebeam, Bria, Zoiper, and Zoiper Biz. Read More
Voicemail to E-mail
Receive voicemail notification via e-mail, pager, smartphone and on your telephone (message waiting indicator). Voicemails can also be received as attachments in your e-mail box which you can listen to through your speakers. Read More
Our Hosted PBX service includes a very powerful but user-friendly web interface that allows you to control virtually every aspect of your service online, at any time, from anyhwere. Training and support materials are also available online. Read More
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Although the cloud approach is much simpler and more cost-effective than traditional PBX service, there are still a few requirements you'll need to cover before deploying. We'll go over those below.
High-speed Internet connection
Most well-developed areas of North America will have a number of Internet Service Provider (ISP) options for you. Unless you are in a relatively remote area, you will likely have high-speed Internet at your disposal.
You may have a number of different Internet connection types and speeds available to you in your area. Some common examples are:
The type of connection best suited for your business depends on how your staff will use the phone. If all of your staff are sometimes on the phone simultaneously, you may need a connection with more bandwidth. To calculate your approximate needs, multiply 87 kbps (which is the bandwidth a high-quality call on our service requires) by the maximum number of calls you expect to have active at any given time. Here is an example:
87 kbps x 5 active calls =435 kbps
The above figure is how much bandwidth you would need for five calls at once using our high-quality codec. We also offer a codec that reduces bandwidth, with a minor trade-off in sound quality (most callers do not notice the difference). Under that scenario you would use 35 kbps as your bandwidth figure.
Compatible Network Equipment
Implementing a cloud-based PBX is simple. You'll be using the same type of network equipment as you would for any other purpose - modems, routers, and switches. However, to ensure an optimal experience with your service, we recommend ensuring that the following criteria are met for each device.
- Modem should be a modem only - no routing capabilities. Modem/router combination units are not recommended. Your ISP should be able to assist you with this step
- Router should be compatible, as shown in our router compatibility guide
- If you use switches, they should be unmanaged - again, no routing capability. The only device handling any routing tasks should be the router itself
- CAT5 or CAT6 Ethernet cable available at each desk where you'd like a phone located
Phones and/or Soft Phones
You have several options for making and receiving calls on a cloud-based PBX service. There are three main categories of options, and we've included a link for each so you can explore further.
You're now ready to proceed with ordering your cloud PBX!
Jive staff are standing by to assist you in getting off the ground - and into the clouds. Ready for a quote? Just click the button below.
If you'd like to speak with a live person via phone, you can reach us at671-0111,
option 1 for Sales.
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