Making Sense of Telecom Jargon – Part 1

Listening to someone speak about telecommunication systems can make us feel a little like Ginger in this Far Side cartoon:

It’s an industry that loves acronyms and isn’t afraid to use them.

Over the next few blog posts, we are going to define those common acronyms and terminology associated with telecommunications in the cloud.

Hosted PBX  – PBX stands for private branch exchange.  It is hardware that is stored in your office – generally in a back room or closet that connects all your internal phones to the outside phone lines through something known as the trunk line.  If you want to go really old school, your PBX would look like this:

With Hosted PBX, your system is managed off-site by a business phone services provider (Hi!) and instead of travelling into your business through a trunk line; all calls and PBX features (extension dialing, voicemail, conferencing, disaster recovery solutions, etc.) are connected to your internal phone system through the Internet.

The advantages associated with having your PBX hosted are no upfront costs associated with having to purchase hardware, or continuing costs from maintenance and upgrades.  A hosted solution is a subscription service, so you only pay for the lines and services you need and you can add or delete users as necessary.

Hosted VoiceHosted voice is essentially the same as Hosted PBX, but its features may be limited.

IVR – Interactive Voice Response.  IVR automates interactions through the telephone.  These come in the form of prerecorded prompts that the caller can respond to using dual-tone multi-frequency signaling (the touch tone key pad) or through speech recognition.  You know that drill:

Press or say “1” to hold, press or say “2” to hold….

IVR systems can be either installed in your business or integrated through your business’ network by using a telephony solution provider (hi, again).   The advantages of having your IVR hosted are the same as the PBX:  no upfront costs for equipment, no maintenance, no hardware to manage, and scalability.

Here are a sampling of ways an IVR system can help your business:

  • Capacity to handle high call volume
  • Provides answers to routine customer service questions after hours
  • Lowers call center costs
  • Prioritizes call – urgent problems can be dealt with first
  • Ensures that the caller reaches the right person/department quickly and accurately

Stay tuned for more!