Technology

Phone Systems For Small Businesses

Call centre headphone on computer keyboard in office

In today’s connected world there are a growing number of options when it comes to small business telecommunications, so what’s available and what fits your needs?

Traditional telephone line

The invention of the traditional telephone dates back to the 1800s and analogue phones were a mainstay for most homes and businesses throughout the 20th century. By 1986, ISDN was invented, which for the first time, made it possible to transmit multiple telephone calls over the same circuit in a digital, not analogue form. Today, while some homeowners and businesses still use a traditional telephone they tend to be viewed as outdated, expensive and often, people only have a connection so they can get the internet over it. 

Digital phone system

With the invention of ISDN in 1986 came a revolution in the way that businesses communicated. No longer did a company need multiple lines to make more than one simultaneous call, they could now get a single connection and run all of their business communications through it. Digital phones systems were installed in comms rooms across the country and many companies will still use them to this day. In 2020 however, BT announced that they aim to switch off ISDN completely by 2025, giving businesses a 5-year window to switch to SIP and VoIP.

Mobile phone

The invention of the mobile phone heralded a new era of business and mobility. You no longer needed to be at your desk to receive calls, you could effectively work from anywhere.

Business man with mobile and laptop

Mobile phone technology is without a doubt the biggest step forward since phones were first introduced, and it goes without saying that every business owner would struggle today without their trusted smartphone.

VoIP system

VoIP or Voice over internet protocol to give it its full name was invented in 1995 as a way to save money on long-distance telephone calls. As with many types of technology, it’s taken time to mature and crucially the internet connections which it relies upon needed to improve for this new tech to become a realistic option for the many. 


Today you can choose to buy a VoIP system and host it yourself or subscribe to a cloud-hosted service. While the self-hosted option may be a good fit for medium-sized businesses, the investment in the equipment and the internet connection required often means that it’s an option that is out of reach for small businesses. Fortunately, as we outline in the next section of this article, hosted VoIP systems have made the technology accessible to businesses of all size.

Cloud VoIP system

Cloud VoIP services are becoming ever more popular amongst businesses of all size. Rather than buying a costly system and needing to host it in your office or somewhere else, technology companies have invested heavily into creating cloud-based systems which are hosted in data centres around the UK. Being that you don’t actually own the equipment the service runs on, you as a customer have no responsibility for the upkeep or maintenance of the system. All you need is a handset, computer or smartphone and you can make and receive calls via your VoIP system. With a growing number of UK providers, there is plenty of choices too. You can save money, enjoy greater flexibility and get a host of advanced telephony features. 

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Master of the budgets. Provider of the tips. Author and owner of DumbFunded.co.uk.
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