In selecting a telephone system, there are many considerations to be made. Among these considerations are the size, scope, features, functionality, interoperability, maintenance, reliability and upgradeability, all in addition to cost and vendor selection play major roles in determining which type of system will best fit the needs of the company.
Interoperability with voice mail and electronic messaging systems, PC’s, LAN’s, video and multi-media servers and wireless systems are vital and important considerations going forward. Also important are the interfaces to Ethernet, coax or fiber used to access LAN’s, data equipment and local voice, wide area voice, and data network services; such as T-1, Frame relay, ISDN, and ATM.
A PBX (private branch exchange) is a telephone system within an enterprise that switches calls between enterprise users on local lines while allowing an enterprise to share a certain number of external phone lines. The main purpose of a PBX is to save the cost of requiring a line for each user to the telephone company’s central office. The PBX is owned and operated by the enterprise rather than the telephone company Originally, such systems required the use of a live operator. Since almost all PBXs today are automatic, the terms PBX and PABX (private automatic branch exchange) are interchangeable.
Today, PBXs use digital technology. That is possible because PBXs have evolved through four generations. The first generation used analog technology. It was also very basic as far as features and technology. The second generation introduced stored-program control processors. The third generation was the first to support end to end digital transmission, and uses both digital and analog proprietary telephones. The fourth generation is not clearly defined. However, it does employ LAN interfaces to provide a highway for interconnecting data devices.
- Telephone trunk lines that terminate at the PBX.
- A computer with memory that manages the switching of the calls within the PBX and in and out of it.
- The network of lines within the PBX.
- Usually, a console or switchboard for a human operator.
Many medium sized or larger companies use a PBX because it is much less expensive than connecting an external telephone line to every telephone set in the organization. Also, it’s easier to call someone within a PBX because the number needed to dial is typically 3 to 4 digits.
The PBX system that I have chosen to present is the Bizfon 680. In addition to physical phone connections, the unique Universal Extension feature lets you use any remote phone, such as a cell phone, as if it were directly wired to the Bizfon system. Now, anyone who dials your extension number can be automatically connected to your cell phone. And, you can also use your cell phone, or other remote telephone, to access and control all of the Bizfon’s features, including using its outside lines so that all business-related calls are always billed to your office account.
- Built-in voice mail with eight individual mail boxes
- Automatic answering with professionally recorded greetings
- Automatically created directory allows callers to hear employee names and their extension numbers
- Separate day-time and after-hours automated attendant greeting messages
- Two informational message mailboxes for recording such messages as directions to your office, hours of business, details on special events, etc.
- Call forwarding to any phone located anywhere: in the office, at home, or on the road
- Audio-in jack for music-on-hold from a CD Player or other sound source
- Meeting Room conferencing automatically links up to five callers, in or out of the office, when they each dial the reserved meeting room extension number.
- Powerful remote-user capabilities allow you to use all of your Bizfon system’s features from a remote telephone.
- Speaker phone on BizTouch feature phone for hands-free conversation
BizTouch feature phones can be mixed with conventional analog phones to give you the best combination of flexible operation and low incremental cost as your phone system grows. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for proprietary digital phones you can mix existing phones with our versatile BizTouch feature phone. It provides one-touch access to the features you use most often, including voice mail.
The Bizfon 680’s features have been preset so you can begin using them literally minutes after it’s installed. And, when you’re ready to tailor them to your own needs and preferences, call extension 299, and our customer care center will connect to your Bizfon and make the changes for you.
The Bizfon 680 turns just about any phone connected to it into a feature phone at the touch of a button. Simply press the star (*) key and you’ll hear instructions on how to use the numeric keys to perform the same functions handled by the feature buttons on a BizTouch phone.
A Bizfon system helps make your business more available, informative and responsive to your customers. With the ability to handle up to 6 calls simultaneously, all callers receive prompt attention. Callers can speak to an operator, enter a number for direct access to an extension number, or listen to a directory of employee extension numbers. And, when callers are placed on hold, the Bizfon doesn’t forget them. Instead, it automatically tells callers how they can reach another extension, talk to an operator, continue to hold, or leave a voice mail message.
Every Bizfon system has a built-in link that lets you “phone home” whenever you need assistance. Whether you need to change a setting in the Bizfon 680, want to know about installing a new phone, or have a question about using a particular feature they have a specified number where you can directly contact a Customer Care specialist whose sole mission is to assure your total satisfaction with your Bizfon.
The Biztouch feature phone gives you one-touch access to the features you use most often. Because it’s designed specifically for the Bizfon system, it is able to provide one-button access to voice mail, a feature rarely found on phone systems costing thousands of dollars more. The BizTouch feature phone includes speakerphone operation, and you can mix it with conventional corded and cordless phones in a Bizfon system.
The inbound call handling with automated attendant has the following features:
- Separate day and after-hours greetings
- Caller-initiated transfer to operator
- Two caller-selectable informational messages
- Music on hold from attached audio source.
- Fax line can be shared between fax and voice calls
And for voicemail, it has the following features:
- Callers can record, review, and re-record messages
- Date and time stamping of all messages.
- Messages can be listened to, saved, deleted, scanned and forwarded to another extension
- Callers can transfer out of voice mail to another extension or operator
Call handling contains all the standard features of PBX:
The special feature on the Bizfon 680, is the remote access ability:
- Pager notification- you can be notified on your pager whenever you have a new voice message.
- Full usability during remote use- you can access voicemail and other administrative uses.
Physical and Electrical Specifications are as follows:
- Dimensions: 17.5″ L x 8.5″ W x 2.25″ H
- Telephone company lines: Six, six-pin RJ-11 jacks
- Extensions: Eight, six-pin RJ-11 jacks
- Power-fail emergency jack: Connected to telephone company line 1 when power fails
- Audio input (music-on-hold): RCA phono jack (mono)
- Power: 110/220 VAC 50/60 Hz, 17 watts
- Operating temperature: 0-50° Centigrade
- Operating humidity: 0-95% non-condensing
- Regulatory: FCC part 15, FCC part 68, Industry Canada CS-03, UL & CSA listed
In conclusion, this PBX is more suitable for a small business because expandability is fairly limited. The price for this unit is $1499. That once again is due to the limitations on the physical unit. The BizTouch phone sets, which are proprietary, have a cost of $149 per unit.
- Laino, Jane, The Telephony Book, Telecom Books, a division of Miller Freeman, Inc., 1999
- Harry Green, James, The Irwin Handbook of Telecommunications 3rd Ed., McGrawhill, 1997