PBX Death-Knell is Premature

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There will always be a place for the tried and trusted PBX, in an ever-evolving comms world where the Cloud and hosted solutions continue to gain market share. Head of System Sales at Nimans, Paul Burn, says the humble PBX will continue to stand the test of time despite many modern challengers to its throne.

“As a business we continue to diversify to offer our customers a complete spectrum of hardware and software-based solutions but the telecoms industry is like many other sectors, it’s not an all or nothing conversation,” he emphasised.

“Predicting it will completely go one way or another simply isn’t going to happen. I recall when Centrex came out many years ago, there were the same arguments we are having now about the PBX. There are all sorts of factors which determine market trends – architecture of the technology, where it needs to be situated and the overall cost implications.

“At the moment I see no reason to doubt that there is always going to be a place for traditional PBX’s. We’re still shipping relatively healthy numbers of analogue switches each month. There’s a long rocky road between that and the IP PBX or cloud-based systems. There’s a mix of technologies and industries to consider. In reality is a guy who owns a car garage who has three extensions ever going to embrace the Cloud? For me it isn’t going to happen. Of course it’s going to be more prevalent, but only in certain environments.”

Burn says there is now much more choice for resellers and their customers to consider than ever before. He continued: “This probably makes it slightly more confusing for end users. Before they had a choice of PBX’s but now there’s a choice of PBX’s and a platform of other options involving how integrated communication can be delivered.

“The same levels of complication could also apply to resellers but I think in reality the most successful ones tend to specialise in certain areas rather than being all things to all men. They have to choose their horse to ride. Ultimately the end user is driven and influenced by who they speak to and who is the best at selling a particular type of technology.”

Resellers continue to expand their portfolios but it often comes down to what they are running their companies for, according to Paul. “Are they running it to build a base to sell on or is it a lifestyle business? All of these will dictate the type of technologies they sell. Minutes and maintenance or recurring revenues; it depends where their skills, objectives and customers operate. As I’ve said before, hosted isn’t going to be for everyone.

“There are so many boxes to tick in terms of today’s technology. The technology itself is a delivery method. Resellers have to look at what clothes best fit their business – and what their customers require. There are no right and wrong answers. It’s not just black and white.”

Burn concluded: “The market will always drive choice. It’s where you draw the line. I’m sure there will be something new around the corner to blur the picture even more. In this industry we are always hearing about the next big thing. Ten years ago it was all about IP with no more digital devices, but that’s not how it evolved because that’s not how the end user wanted it. Everything is driven by the speed of adoption. It’s not driven by what technology is capable of doing. It’s driven by the desire to use it by the end user.”