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With the global hosted PBX (private branch exchange) market expected to top $9 billion by 2023, companies have embraced these and other voice over internet protocol (VoIP) solutions for competitive advantage. But how is this shift impacting service providers?
Traditional PBX systems were expensive, difficult to maintain, and near impossible to scale. The emergence of VoIP alleviated some of these challenges but still required a gateway solution to convert the analogue (PBX) signal to digital (VoIP). So, while this enabled a more digital-friendly environment, it was still far from ideal as solutions still had many of the same problems they started with.
In South Africa, the arrival of VoIP coincided with the arrival of undersea cables – bringing with them more affordable bandwidth and other connectivity solutions such as fibre. The local regulatory environment was also changing, with Telkom no longer solely responsible for communication services in the country.
The first forays into VoIP resulted in huge growth and provided businesses of all sizes and across industry sectors more affordable and reliable means to improve telephony efficiencies and agility. However, there was still an analogue hangover…
Fast forward a couple of years and the hosted, cloud-based PBX environments started laying the foundation for the more thorough digital voice transformation that is currently being experienced. There was suddenly no need for the complicated hardware sitting within premises. Service providers started moving to a pay-per-use model for VoIP and PBX solutions that were more easily tailored to specific business needs and could scale as an organisation grew.