We constantly evolve as a civilization and new innovative technologies are often the drivers of this evolution. As we make room for them in our daily activities, they change the way we do things and interact with each other, leaving less room for other technologies or practices, which become obsolete. Think about the times when we were using floppy disks; even CDs have been outpaced by flash drives and memory cards.
We’ve also come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. Since the introduction of VoIP, this technology has transformed the way people and businesses communicate and became a “disruptive technology” for many of the old technologies and practices in the business environment.
Answering machine – I need to access my email to listen to my voice messages – that certainly sounded strange in the 90s. Pressing a button to listen to a message or changing the cassette on your machine sounds so ancient now. Voicemail to email, an important feature of the Hosted PBX, delivers the voice messages straight to your inbox as audio files, so you can listen to them anywhere.
Fax machine – Although the fax machine is still being used, E-fax has proven to be such an efficient way of handling faxes. No more paper, ink or heavy hardware – just an email address from which faxes can be sent and retrieved.
Analog phone – The analog phone is not something we see often is today’s offices. No more copper wires all tangled in a demarcation point and plain old phones that could only do two things – call out and receive calls. The new business VoIP systems run through the Internet using advanced IP Phones, Smartphone and desktop apps that support advanced call handling features, as well as video, IM and web browsing.
Receptionist and her/ his Switchboard – Receptionists used to be true heroes when it came to receiving calls and directing them all day to the right people in the company using a not-so-friendly switchboard. With the introduction of the Auto Attendant (IVR) feature on Hosted PBXs, the automatic distribution of calls have made things so simple that, in some cases, it replaced the receptionist completely. The addition of Hunt Groups took things to another level, adding the capability to group users into various departments.
Rolodex – Having all your contacts on business cards or other papers was a challenge for anyone, especially when trying to find a contact while being on the phone. Today, the Company directory feature is incorporated in the Virtual PBX, allowing callers to dial by name to reach a certain person.
Meeting room – Getting the members of a team together in a room to discuss company matters uses a lot of resources, including space, time and sometimes also involves travel. VoIP Conferencing made meetings so easy that almost all companies use it, whether it’s in the form of Skype group calls, audio conferences or video conferences using special teleconferencing equipment.
Manual dialing and answering – Call Centers are some of the businesses who have benefited greatly from the evolution of VoIP. Agents were put under a lot of pressure because of the high volume of calls. Predictive dialers eliminated the huge hassle of dialing numbers manually, while advanced Hosted PBX components like Automated Call Distribution (ACD) and Call Queues have significantly improved incoming call handling processes.
While embracing more and more of the VoIP features, businesses adapted their processes to ensure they make the most of their financial and human resources. They were able to expand anywhere in the world using virtual services, and a new term has become more and more popular: telecommuting. The Hosted PBX evolved into a complex business phone system capable to handle multiple tasks, and communication has never been the same since.