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Does an organization have to have an IP PBX in order to have a unified communications system?

Does an organization have to have an IP PBX in order to have a unified communications system?

Does an organization have to have an IP PBX in order to have a unified communications system?

While I do not like to use the term "yes and no" it really does fit here. If you consider that the purpose of a...

unified communications system is to integrate multiple communications platforms into a more seamless medium than in the analog days -- then yes, one would need to have an IP PBX capability to replace the more traditional TDM PBX of the past. As a matter of fact, some providers of PBX equipment are providing an upgrade path for their older infrastructure systems to provide IP capability and to enhance the value of their existing installed base.

That said, there are some PBX providers that allow for advanced feature sets that provide a "pseudo" unification of fixed and mobile communications assets. If you think about it, forwarding your office phone to your mobile device is a handy feature in some cases and does perform an integration of sorts. This capability might suit the needs of some end users but the more advanced application would integrate automatic forwarding or "find me" capability that would not require end user intervention to set up each time.

The advent of the pure IP PBX has brought more advanced calling features and the recognition of the influence and needs of the mobile work force. Some organizations report difficulty justifying the full implementation of IP PBXs due to the initial cost and the lack of "hard" dollar savings associated with productivity enhancements, however additional attention to this may be required to gain the necessary approvals for this capability.

This was last published in February 2008

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