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Safe service in stormy season

Published:Sunday | July 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Michael O'Neil (left), technology expert from Bloomberg, and Grant Hume (right), vice-president of Columbus Business Solutions, exchange ideas on technology solutions for SMEs as Columbus' managing director, Sean Latty, and director of corporate communications, Gail Abrahams, listen intently. - Contributed

With the 2014 hurricane season under way, local business operators have been given another avenue to protect against disruptions if Jamaica is impacted.

Columbus Business Solutions (CBS) has launched its hosted PBX telephone solution, which will ensure that local businesses will not be cut off from their clients and stakeholders due to downed utility poles, floods, earthquakes or other disasters.

According to CBS vice- president, Grant Hume, the Internet-based technology ensures optimum, 24-hour performance and connectivity against such phenomena.

"The hosted PBX system allows small and medium-sized businesses to have a sophisticated telephone system without the investment in telephone equipment. The entire telephone system is operated and maintained by a Voice-over-IP service provider, such as Columbus," said Hume, adding that the system eliminates the need for costly and cumbersome telephone wires and other equipment.

Hosted PBX is a software system where voice travels over computer data systems.

This provides a data system which can be connected to other information technology systems, thus merging several areas of a company: customer service, marketing, and accounts, on one easy-to-use platform.

Just like traditional systems, business owners will be able to transfer calls, put calls on hold with music, set up conference calls or have the phone answered by an automated attendant who can direct calls to different departments.

"Physical systems have physical wires and boxes; if you have a hurricane, fire or other disasters those assets are gone, and you will need to rebuild from scratch. A virtual PBX allows you to maintain communication in the event of an emergency," noted Michael O'Neil, renowned IT analyst and keynote speaker at a workshop put on by CBS recently.

The workshop, titled 'Enabling tomorrow's workforce today with hosted PBX', highlighted the importance of the system to certain entities, especially travel agencies, airports, utility companies and government agencies, where call volumes increase during emergencies.

Growing businesses are also set to benefit from the hosted PBX technology, which is being utilised globally. PBX eliminates the need to upgrade existing telephone systems whenever there is an increase of staff and other resources.

"Business owners will only have to pay a monthly fee for their first five users. As they add users to their systems, they will be required to add additional licences at a minimal cost," explained Hume.