Traditional PBX to Cloud Migration

Posted 3 years ago

Unless you have been on another planet, it is hard to escape the growth in hosted telephony services over the past few years.

The roots of modern hosted telephony are actually as far back as the mid 80s, with both BT and Mercury offering “Centrex services”.  The North American market inspired these when the breakup of the Bell Telcos meant that the “Baby Bells” could not easily provide customer premises equipment.

The Centrex service enables the PBX function to be carried out at the local telephone exchange or “central office” as the Americans refer to it. The drivers behind this were Opex vs Capex, scalable with the ability to operate across multi sites as one.  Sound familiar?

Services were delivered either via a plain copper wire with one pair per connection, or in some cases a 2 Mbps link in the UK.  (1.54 Mbps in the US).

With the advent of IP telephony, the ability to deliver such services using a data network, rather than traditional PSTN, was inevitable.  This is reflected in the fact that the main global manufacturer of Centrex equipment, Northern Telecom (Nortel), became one of the leading players via their carrier platform.  G.E.M Band, as part of the Nortel Restructuring in Chapter 11, purchased this technology.

What we can see from this is that the concept of a non-customer premise based voice solution is not a new one.

One of the reasons for the accelerated growth in hosted telephony in recent years is the ability to respond quickly to organisational growth, or downsizing, without the prospect of a “white elephant” box to remind everyone when the company was much larger!!

It’s not automatically the best option for a customer, as everyone has different circumstances and requirements.  The true skill in providing a solution is understanding the customer’s needs and designing a solution based on Hosted or Hosted/PBX hybrid solution.

If you look at some of the current PBXs such as the Avaya ACM/AURA or CS1k, Mitel or Unify to name a few, they are often set up via the customer network as an internal hosted set up, with the main equipment located in one or two locations, and 100s or even 1000s of IP sets connected to it wherever the customer requires them.

When you look at it in that perspective, the criteria for a successful migration from traditional PBX to Hosted, is not dissimilar to those required for a migration from TDM PBX to a multi-site IP solution.

The criteria to be considered when planning such a move, whether it is for a 6 user estate agent or a 2000 user multi-site global logistics company are the same; such as LAN, resilience, and customer peripherals, 3rd party dect/paging systems, PDQ machines, and the ability for the customer WAN/LAN to support voice.

Many of us in the industry have heard of the “horror stories” and tales of woe from customers whose supplier’s main criteria to be able to deploy hosted telephony was, “Can I plug it in to a data socket?”

The key to having a successful installation of a hosted service, is to use the same level of project planning and surveying as you would an IP PBX, and to ensure any features that the customer has on their existing switch are able to be emulated on the hosted set up, either by programming or the use of additional equipment.

There are some excellent 3rd party devices from Spectralink, Audiocodes and Algo, that enable a hosted solution to have the same enhancements (such as DECT, analogue devices or paging systems) as a traditional PBX.

To do this the supplier needs to either have a fully qualified in-house engineering team, or have an external resource that knows how to achieve a successful installation.  It’s no coincidence that some of the best hosted integrators are the resellers that were equally successful when they only installed PBXs or IT equipment.

In conclusion there is no magic wand with regard to successful hosted telephony projects, just the same disciplines that any technology solutions company should have;

Proper
Planning and
Preparation
Prevents
Poor
Project
Performance 

For more information about Abzorbplus+ PBX Maintenance & Support Service, please click here or contact us on 01484 505 577.

 

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