End Of Traditional PBX Support Signals Arrival Of IP Age

    The tech world is currently undergoing a massive upheaval.

    Long ago, businesses were interested in building telecom infrastructures that could last for years without losing relevance. These legacy circuits have served organizations well, but their lifecycles are coming to an abrupt end. The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 completely changed the face of mobile computing. In less than a decade, the world has steadily moved towards IP connections for many - if not all - of their communication needs. Voice is no exception.

    Now that devices are being connected in more efficient ways, the legacy systems that were once the centerpiece of enterprise telecom are beginning to show their age. Increased difficulties pertaining to integration are prompting companies to realize that there is an easier and more cost-effective way to manage voice connections in hosted PBX. Not only that, but the providers of the copper PBX lines that served dutifully for decades are beginning to take notice of this in-progress shift to digital means of communications - vendors are beginning to phase out support for these aging systems. This symbolizes a massive change for enterprise communications.

    Cloud PBX is the future, and the future is now. If the advantages that accompany these systems make legacy circuits seem obsolete, it is because they are. While many companies are merely easing into the transition rather than taking it head-on, the vast benefits coupled with the increasing loss of support for older systems all but assures the ultimate demise of legacy hardware in the relatively near future.

    A Period Of Transition

    According to TechTarget contributor Antone Gonsalves, the unified communications conversion is intensifying. Infonetics Research found that the worldwide market for enterprise PBX lines experienced a 9 percent decrease, falling to a worth of $1.18 billion. This occurred within the same time frame as a staggering 34 percent increase in market value for UC solutions. Infonetics is expecting a similar trend in 2014, with enterprise PBX sales falling by almost 3 percent and unified communications application revenue increasing by more than 21 percent.

    Additionally, Gartner analyst Jay Lassman said that digital communication systems officially surpassed traditional phone lines in 2011 - between 55 and 60 percent of the PBX market consists of IP-based services.

    This shift is driven mainly by the modern requirements that have cropped up for businesses and their employees within the last decade. Staff members expect to be able to communicate over a plethora of mediums, including voice, video and text-based messaging such as SMS and email. According to Gonsalves, these tools will frequently be located within the same app, allowing for new levels of cross-platform connectivity. This is far beyond the abilities of legacy circuits. As a result, companies are phasing them out in favor of more capable infrastructures that can support modern advents like VoIP phone service.

    IP PBX Enables Flexibility

    Personal computing has changed significantly in recent history. Now that people can do more on the go, essentially making them available around the clock, they want to be able to work remotely. According to Sara Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, the last 10 years have had a stark effect on the business world. Work is no longer the focal point, but instead it is something that must be seamlessly integrated with the rest of their lives.

    "Work-life balance has become very important, and flexible jobs make work-life balance a real possibility for people," Fell told Forbes contributor Jacquelyn Smith. "By being able to set your own schedule, or telecommute from your home office... people are able to shape their work and personal lives in ways that work for their unique situation."

    According to Smith, the tools that turn these possibilities into realities include business VoIP service. As more companies begin to make the transition to IP telephony, employees are going to start expecting flexibility with physical attendance.

    One of the areas of the company that can vastly benefit from these technologies is the contact center. According to Channel Partners contributor Andrew Pryfogle, customer support services can vastly benefit from a move to the cloud, and 2014 is going to be the year that many businesses are going to be ready to consider the transition. Cloud contact centers, which can be enabled as virtual, remote workplaces are becoming increasingly popular, further signifying the underlying shift toward digital communications as a new standard of relevance.

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