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Although it is no surprise that companies that make PABX systems, like Panasonic and Samsung, are stopping their switchboard manufacturing activities, this may leave some companies asking whether their telephone systems are now useless.

Samsung discontinued its phone systems some time ago, and Panasonic said in February this year that it will stop manufacturing and distributing business PABX communications systems by 2023. Panasonic, like Samsung before it, has seen much of its market moving to the cloud, a phenomenon that has been accelerated by the global pandemic.

COVID-19 outbreaks have caused millions of people to have to work from home almost simultaneously. Companies have been forced to very quickly re-examine their IT strategies and move to the cloud – more rapidly than they may have planned. This, alongside other factors like increasing uptake of unified communications (UC), has rendered the switchboard as we know it redundant.

For those using traditional PABX systems, this means that new products won’t be available when manufacturing ends, and any spares are likely to be refurbished and not new.

Digital PABX solutions

Many companies, especially ones with multiple extensions and many incoming calls that need to be routed to the correct person, still rely on a single number for telephonic point of contact.

There is a way to keep a convenient “land line” number for those companies that still require them, but also to route calls to the correct person, regardless of whether they are working from home, or are out on the road doing a sales or repair call – VoIP, cloud-hosted telephone solutions.

Says Euphoria Telecom CEO John Woollam: “Cloud-based business telephone solutions are a critical tool for navigating the challenges of remote work in recent times and for companies looking to replace hardware PBXs, they offer a viable and cost-effective alternative.”

The upside of using a cloud-hosted PABX

  • Costs come down because there is no need for hardware installation, training, maintenance, and support expenses.

  • It’s mobile, so calls can be routed to their intended recipient wherever that person is.

  • Calls between branches are free and call costs are low as it’s all VoIP.

  • VoIP cloud telephony providers often don’t lock their customers into long-term contracts, operating month to month rather, giving their clients more flexibility.

  • It’s scalable, so businesses can decide how much of the service they want to consume, and increase or decrease their usage as the business’ needs change.

  • It allows for automation and intelligent reporting which gives the business a centralised, consolidated view of costs in real-time.

  • Cloud telephony also means that the business doesn’t need to worry about out-dated hardware that has reached end-of-life, adding another cost to the balance sheet during already difficult times.

“While the demise of the traditional PABX system may feel like a major challenge, it’s really an opportunity for businesses to modernise their systems and start realising the cost and productivity benefits IP-based solutions can offer,” Woollam concludes.