Telephone System

The Evolution of the PABX System


In today's fast-paced world, businesses need to hustle and keep up or be altogether left behind by competition. In order to do so, it must have systems in place which can allow them to keep track of their business activities in an efficient and timely manner. One such system is the Private Automatic Branch Exchange (PABX).


The PABX system is an automatic telephone switching system that keeps communicating parties within an organization connected with each other as well as those outside their organization. It was originally called private branch exchanges (PBX) back when the system needed an operator to connect or disconnect lines between calling parties. But the terms are now used interchangeably to mean PABX, which relies on an automated response system now used extensively in many countries worldwide.


In large organizations, the volume of incoming as well as outgoing phone calls to and from the company can be staggering, without even counting calls between employees or departments within the same workplace. The PABX telephone system solves such problems by providing control and access of such phone calls. Outside callers may be able to call the company by accessing multiple lines through a single number. On the other hand, callers from inside the company can make a call through the system to any department within the system or company, as well as an external number outside the system.


In this way, it is possible for a high number of calls to be made all at the same time and connect speedily. This ability to connect and stay in constant touch through the PABX system allows a company to be able to move forward and address its many concerns efficiently. There are certain companies which need the heavy use of a Pabx Installation system phone lines to conduct its day to day operations.


Call centers process hundreds, if not thousands, of calls per day from their customers. Most of their calls are incoming, which means their customers are able to call a single or perhaps a few phone lines to access multiple internal lines manned by customer service agents. Agents can also access internal extensions or lines to call another agent, or perhaps another department. Outside calls may also be made using internal phone lines most probably by the use of a code which is entered in order to access an outside line.


Without a PABX system, it would be virtually impossible to make this many types of calls in a day. Other large companies also use this Avaya PBX system in order to keep afloat several departments and hundreds of employees.


The modern PABX system is a far cry from the old days of pre-PBX when placing calls needed the help of operators to manually plug in connections on plug boards in a great confusion of blinking lights and a massive tangle of wires crisscrossing each other.


The early days after the invention of the telephone, companies made minimal use of the device until after the Depression when businesses began to expand. As more people were hired in a business, more and more departments also came to be created. The use for the telephone became bigger, especially when incoming phone calls also increased.


Calls between employees or departments also began to be necessary. But this meant having to install more than one telephone line because telephone companies required every phone to have its own line. And so it became very expensive to do that. Companies needed an alternative to manage all its incoming and outgoing calls in a more affordable manner. And so the switchboard PBX was born.


Up to the 1960s, the public telephone company connected all calls. An idea was sparked for companies to have their own private operators to connect inter-office phone calls. These became the first PBX systems. It was in 1882 when attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, launched the first private switchboard system.


The practice soon caught on, and in the early 1990s, many types of institutions joined in on the trend. Hospitals, schools, factories, and other businesses which had a large number of employees soon had their PBX systems. Since these cost a lot of money, some companies could not afford their own and turned to the public telephone companies who rented out switchboard blocks at a discounted rate for internal calls.


In 1910, police departments became the first to heavily invest in automated PBX systems in order to speed up emergency response times. In 1972, semiconductors brought faster and more reliable automation such that, in a few years, full electronic automation of the PBX system became possible. But sadly, this cut the need for operators. The 1990s heralded the birth of the Internet, and eventually, Internet protocol was merged into PBX, bringing the first IP phone system or IP PBX into fruition in 1997.


Soon after, multimedia transmission emerged, so that the service now became VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) PBX. There was no longer any need to maintain a computerized switchboard. Internet was used to transmit data to a computer run by an IP PBX provider.


In 2008, 80% of PBX installations were running on Internet protocol. The latest in IP PBX is the hybrid PBX which merged digital and IP PBX features, and PBX went mobile. New features were also introduced as the IVR menu where callers themselves can route themselves by pressing a number to select a routing option. Scheduled routing also became available, where routing options changed based on the hours preloaded and preset into the system (for instance, if the office is now closed, a caller can press a number for an option to leave a message for the party being called). Many more options are now available for the latest in PABX.


The system has indeed come a long way by responding to the needs of the times. It may continue to grow as users' needs also evolve.