PBX : Simplifying Mass Communication

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Communication is an integral part of business process and the communications

industry is undergoing a paradigm shift. PBX is now just a concept almost at a

stage of extinction and taking on a new avatar-unified communications.


UC has moved toward pure IP, and there is convergence of multi-service

communications systems. Communications systems used in hotels, hospitals, banks

and financial institutions, automotive, retail and IT industry have a unique set

of business communications requirements. For example, in hotels the EPABX system

needs to be connected to the front office system. Customer relationship

management is treated as an important business strategy. Hence all applications

relating to effective call distribution and CRM are being deployed by many

businesses. The converged systems give capability to provide legacy connectivity

like PCM-TDM and IP.

The visible growth in the market has compelled companies to follow a common

standard as interoperability is a must for all equipment providers. Deployment

of IP communications leads to security concerns for enterprises. Applications

like mobility and presence are the drivers for next generation communication



The TDM based traditional PBX market in the country is stagnating because

customers in India are rapidly embracing IP telephony. There is a strong growth

in IP PBX and pure-play IP telephony. Almost all organizations are moving toward

IP based intelligent communications. Another trend is integration of mobile

phones in communications system at enterprises.

Unlike traditional TDM based technology, IP telephony offers intelligent

communication. Hybrid and IP PBX systems are also gaining ground. By using these

systems, businesses can make use of their converged IP networks to transport

voice along with data and video.

Migration to IP telephony is viewed as part of an integrated IT strategy

including migration to MPLS based WAN, and QOS based LAN. Although IP telephony

does save a lot for organizations, hybrid systems remain an option for SMEs.


PBX Architecture

The advancement in PBX technology has led companies to develop IP PBX from

microprocessor based EPABX solutions. The visible development from EPABX to IP

PBX can be seen in the development of IP phones from digital phones.

Experts panel

Minhaj Zia, national sales manager, unified communications, Cisco,

India & Saarc

V Praveen Kumar, head, enterprise voice & teleconferencing, Avaya

Rahul Kulkarni, senior manager, marketing, Siemens Enterprise

At present IP PBX systems can run on a variety of Linux based and Windows

Media servers. Over time companies have realized the need for an easy to use

communications system. Information/communications managers provide centralized

call control for a resilient, distributed network of media gateways and a wide

range of analog, digital, H.323 and SIP-based communications devices. IP PBX

systems have advanced applications in-built, including mobility applications,

call center features, advanced conference calling, and emergency capabilities on

the same platform without any need of additional servers to provide this



IP PBX companies are taking care of industry-standard communications

protocols over a variety of different networks so that the system provides

centralized voice mail, attendant operations, and call centers across multiple


The development in enterprise telephony driven by customer demand has led to

the emergence of unified communications. UC is a means of connecting people

through voice, video, message, and presence irrespective of the device-phone,

laptop, video device, Wi-Fi phone, Web or even on a mobile phone. Collaboration

technologies allow business users to discuss, share data, and review business

affairs from any location.

  • Guaranteed RoI
  • Ability to use same IP infrastructure for voice, video and data with

  • Security for each of the IP calls/transactions for all three

    applications-voice, video and data
  • Green, environmentally friendly solutions saving on power, realty,

    infrastructure, travel and day-to-day maintenance costs
  • Fool-proof redundancy, scalability, open-standards, resiliency and

    survivability of IP telephony system with disaster recovery
  • Ability to remain connected to calls wherever the person is,

    physically and seamlessly, across all devices/IP desk phone, IP Softphone

    on the laptop, cell phone, etc
  • Provide platform for full fledged unified communications and boost

    productivity by connecting people through voice, video, message, presence

    irrespective of the device they are hooked on like desk-phone, laptop,

    Wi-Fi phone, video device, Web or even a mobile phone

Regulations Impact

In August 2008, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) introduced the
concept of work-from-home agents in India. The concept has been introduced for

companies registered under OSPs, including some call centers, network operation

centers, tele-marketing, tele-education, tele-medicine and tele-trading.

Allowing home-agents on IP will also spur IP telephony growth.

There was always a demand from multi-location enterprise customers to

legalize IP telephony deployments. The government has not completely opened up

IP telephony, but in-between 'logical partitioning' solution is allowed. With

this customers can deploy one single system and one single subscriber device on

his desk and can access both PSTN and CUG networks. This relaxation has fueled

IP telephony deployment in the Indian market. Going further, if the government

completely removes this restriction of logical partitioning, a sudden jump in

deployment would be seen.

  • Powerful new applications
  • Simplified centralized management
  • Deploying intelligence at one location and the end-user devices at a

    number of geographically dispersed locations
  • Can scale up operations in a very short time span
  • Bring in the changes to their communications infrastructure at a much

    quicker pace
  • Help enterprises reduce administrative expenses
  • Provide platform for full fledged unified communications and boost

  • Enable video telephony on enterprise's communication manager on a mass

  • Provide powerful options for quick roll-outs with plug-and-play

    functionality with SIP based architecture for branch solutions in BFSI,

    retail, etc

The Green Edge

The PBX is no longer limited to just the telephony needs of an enterprise but is
helping them meet the green cause. The enterprise communication system with the

development of technology has given way to a number of green applications like

tele-worker, collaboration, home agent, video telephony, audio and

videoconferencing solutions, WFM and many others. These solutions have a

positive impact on the environment, profits as well as on employee productivity,

which eventually leads to reduction in operating costs substantially.

Companies in the market are coming up with intelligent technologies in

enterprise telephony systems like auto-shut off of IP phones after office hours

or after shifts.

Like other markets worldwide, India is also embracing IP telephony rapidly

due to the inherent benefits of this technology. The fact that the cost of the

PBX system has come down in the recent past is one of the biggest factors

contributing to its adoption by the enterprise market. The growth of IP

telephony is spurred by enterprise thrust on converged communication and fall in

prices of telecom bandwidth.


As per the latest Frost & Sullivan estimates, the India IP telephony market

showed an explosive growth in 2007. It contributed to 60.4% of the overall

enterprise telephony market of $346 mn in 2007. Sources estimate that it may

contribute 68% and 73% in 2008 and 2009, respectively of the overall enterprise

telephony market. In Apac too, IP telephony is expected to contribute 59.2% and

64% respectively to the overall enterprise telephony market.

Using IP telephony, it is easy for companies to up operations in a very short

time span, bring in changes to their communications infrastructure at a much

quicker pace, help enterprises reduce administrative expenses, boost

productivity and extract measurable returns on their infrastructure investments

and provide full fledged unified communications. This is something that has

always been missing with traditional telephony. Today mid-sized organizations

are also seriously evaluating this technology.

Prasoon Srivastava