Top 10 Business Phone systems

August 11, 2023 | Editor: Adam Levine

Business phone system is a multiline telephone system typically used in business environments, encompassing systems ranging from small key telephone systems to large-scale private branch exchanges.
All your communications on one platform. Team messaging with file sharing, tasks and more. All-in-one cloud phone, team messaging & video conferencing. HD-quality video conferencing with screen sharing. Outbound and inbound contact center and digital customer engagement.
3CX Phone System for Windows is a software-based IP PBX that replaces a proprietary hardware PBX / PABX. 3CX’s IP PBX has been developed specifically for Microsoft Windows and is based on the SIP standard, making it easier to manage and allowing you to use any SIP phone (software or hardware).
Vonage provides communications APIs, unified communication solutions, contact centers, conversational commerce platform.
The Nextiva cloud-based phone system is an all-inclusive unified communication (UC) solution designed for small to large enterprises. Business VoIP phone systems trusted by more than 90000 companies. Powered by the leading cloud PBX VoIP platform, Nextiva is rated the best business VoIP ...
8x8 has a combined phone and contact center solution that can do it all: provide inbound and outbound calling, live agent chat, click-to-call, and live routing options. It’s a one-stop shop for all our needs.
VoIP phone service and communication solution customizable for any size business.
A business phone system that works the way it should. Reign in your remote workforce with a single place for business conversations, no matter the device or location. With mobile apps that make you feel like you’re working out of HQ, your business phone system now goes where you go. Understand why callers are reaching your business (plus what was said) with native Ai insights.
A virtual phone system can help your business stay organized with many calls coming in. Sound professional and stay connected.
Cloud-based phone system and call center software solution. Instant set-up. Integrates with your favourite CRM and Helpdesk. No hardware, no deskphone.
FreePBX is a web-based open source GUI (graphical user interface) that controls and manages Asterisk (PBX), an open source communication server. FreePBX is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), an open source license.
  on Live Enterprise
Zoom Phone supports traditional business phone system features delivered with a streamlined user experience to modernize employee and customer interactions. Quickly provision and manage users and intelligently monitor business interactions with an easy-to-use centralized administration portal
Modern business phone for startups and small business. OpenPhone brings your business calls, texts, and contacts into one delightful app. Work anywhere, across all your devices.
An open source telephony switching and private branch exchange service for Linux. Information on downloading, installation of and support for the product. Asterisk is like a box of Legos for people who want to create communications applications. It includes all the building blocks needed to create a PBX, an IVR system, a conference bridge and virtually any other communications app you can imagine.
FreeSWITCH is a free and open-source telephony software for real-time communication protocols using audio, video, text and other forms of media.
FusionPBX can be used as a highly available single or domain based multi-tenant PBX, carrier grade switch, call center server, fax server, voip server, voicemail server, conference server, voice application server, appliance framework and more. FreeSWITCH™ is a highly scalable, multi-threaded, multi-platform communication platform.
net2phone's world-class phone system keeps your business running in and out of the office.
Virtual PBX Service For Any Business, provides virtual office connectivity, user friendly Web 2.0 management, free extension to extension calls, free internet to internet calls

Latest news about Business Phone systems

2021. Ericsson to acquire cloud communications company Vonage for $6.2B

Ericsson, an international networking company, has made the strategic decision to embrace modernization by acquiring cloud communications company

2021. Aircall raises $120M for its cloud-based phone system

Aircall has secured a $120 million Series D funding round. The company is focused on developing a cloud-based phone system designed for call centers, support lines, and sales teams. It offers seamless integration with popular CRM, support, and communication systems such as Salesforce, HubSpot, Zendesk, Slack, Intercom, and more. Aircall enables its customers to create local numbers and establish interactive voice response directories. The service efficiently manages call queues, allowing agents to promptly respond to incoming calls. Agents can also transfer calls and put customers on hold, while administrators have access to analytics, call monitoring, and performance tracking for effective management of the team.

2021. Zoho launched small business phone software Zoho Voice

Zoho Voice introduces a cutting-edge online business phone software that offers flexibility to users, enabling them to connect from anywhere and on any device. With Zoho Voice's hosted Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system, there's no need for specialized telephony equipment; all that's required is an active internet connection. To get started, simply create your Zoho Voice account, acquire voice credits from our store, select a local or toll-free number from any country, and begin making calls effortlessly. Zoho Voice extends beyond call functionalities, allowing you to effortlessly add your team members to the account, allocate dedicated phone numbers to each individual, and customize inbound and outbound service for specific numbers. Additionally, you have the option to assign extension numbers for your agents and enable internal extension calling, enhancing communication within your organization.

2020. Business Phone system OpenPhone raises $14M

OpenPhone, the company that aims to introduce modern communication features to our work phones, has successfully raised $14M in Series A funding. OpenPhone empowers employees to make calls, send texts, and add contextual information to their business contacts, all through a convenient app available on their phones or computers. Furthermore, the app enables seamless collaboration within organizations. For instance, a company or department can utilize a shared number in addition to individual numbers, while also sharing and synchronizing contact information across the entire organization. Despite the presence of competitors like RingCentral and DialPad, who also offer cloud-based work phone solutions, OpenPhone remains at the forefront of bringing work phones into the 21st century.

2020. Aircall raises $65 million for its cloud-based phone system

Aircall, a software-as-a-service company focused on phone calls, has successfully raised $65 million in a Series C funding round. Aircall aims to distinguish itself from conventional call center solutions by offering seamless integrations with third-party services. As an example, users can view their call details within their CRM system to determine if a team member has already addressed a lead. Additionally, urgent support requests can be promptly handled by initiating phone calls directly from Zendesk.

2019. Vonage brings number programmability to its business service

Vonage has introduced number programmability to cater to its business clientele. This new feature allows enterprises to expand the functionality of any VBC (Vonage Business Cloud) number using Nexmo's APIs. Enabling this capability is as simple as toggling a switch within the management console. Once activated, businesses gain the ability to programmatically route calls, develop customized communication applications and workflows, and integrate third-party systems for creating chatbots and other tools. These capabilities empower users to tailor their calls according to their specific needs and requirements, recognizing that every company possesses distinct processes and preferences.

2018. Vonage acquired cloud-based contact center startup NewVoiceMedia

Vonage, a cloud-based unified communications provider, has completed the acquisition of NewVoiceMedia, a UK startup specializing in cloud-based contact center solutions, for a cash sum of $350 million. This strategic move by Vonage aims to expand its service offerings and increase profit margins across a broader range of value-added IP services. Currently, Vonage provides office phone systems, marketing automation, an existing call center solution, as well as MPLS and other IP services. With the integration of NewVoiceMedia's platform, Vonage will have enhanced capabilities to establish deeper connections with software providers such as Salesforce. This integration is vital to Vonage's approach in selling its services to potential customers. NewVoiceMedia is recognized by Vonage as the largest privately-owned, pure-play, cloud contact center company globally. It boasts approximately 700 customers, primarily consisting of mid- to large-sized enterprises, including prominent names like Adobe, Siemens, Time Inc., FundingCircle, and Rapid7.

2018. Dialpad acquired AI-startup TalkIQ

Dialpad, the platform for business communications, has made an acquisition to leverage artificial intelligence capabilities. The company has acquired TalkIQ, which specializes in capturing voice data in nearly real-time and applying sentiment analysis and analytics. This integration of AI technology allows for real-time feedback and provides valuable insights for customer service operations. Managers can receive guidance on when to intervene during a call. The functionalities of TalkIQ will be seamlessly integrated into the suite of Dialpad apps, including voice and video communication, customer service call center management, and UberConference for conference calling.

2016. Aircall launched mobile apps for its cloud phone system

Aircall, the service that enables you to generate virtual numbers in numerous countries worldwide and share them with your team, has recently launched its mobile apps for iOS and Android, moving out of the beta phase. With these new mobile apps, Aircall customers can conveniently receive or make VoIP calls directly on their phones, without being confined to their desks. Unlike other customer support software, Aircall does not require any specialized hardware and operates on a software-as-a-service model. Aircall facilitates contact and schedule sharing, call assignment to specific team members, and provides detailed tracking of activities. This feature proves invaluable in keeping track of client interactions and whether your colleagues have already dealt with a particular client.

2015. Cloud PBX Switch integrates with Office 365

Switch, a cloud-based business phone service, has expanded its integration capabilities by now supporting Office 365, in addition to its existing integration with Google Apps. With this integration, incoming calls received by Switch users can be routed to specific destinations based on predefined rules set by businesses. Furthermore, Switch users will have access to additional caller information such as recent emails and LinkedIn profiles. Office 365 users can easily sign into Switch through the service, enabling Switch to retrieve relevant data from Office 365 services. By offering robust routing capabilities and seamless integration with productivity tools, Switch aims to replace traditional routing services offered by companies like Cisco. Unlike those services, which often focus on desk phones and can be cumbersome to use, Switch provides a modern and streamlined solution. However, it's worth noting that established companies like Cisco have significant resources and could potentially develop competing services in the future.

2015. launches phone system for Google Apps, a novel cloud-based phone system, has officially transitioned from its closed beta phase and is now available to businesses at large. Designed to deliver unified voice and text communications, Switch caters to enterprise users across various devices. The system simplifies employee phone provisioning by seamlessly integrating with Google Apps and associating each phone number with the corresponding employee's Google account. This integration allows employees to have a single number that can be reached on their desk phones, mobile phones, and desktop computers. Furthermore, Switch facilitates messaging, document sharing, and calendar item collaboration, promoting transparency and enabling users within the organization to easily determine online availability. With a cost of only $15 per month per employee, Switch offers unlimited calls and texts, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses.

2014. 3CX acquires videoconferencing provider e-works

3CX Phone System, the renowned Windows VoIP PBX developer, has made an exciting announcement regarding its latest acquisition. The company has acquired e-works, an Italian video conferencing developer. Back in October 2013, 3CX entered into a partnership with e-works, utilizing its engine for their own videoconferencing solution called 3CX WebMeeting. Now, they have decided to fully acquire this engine. According to Nick Galea, the CEO of 3CX, "The acquisition and the highly anticipated launch of 3CX WebMeeting will greatly enhance our position in the Unified Communications market. With e-works' advanced technology, we will also capitalize on the growing popularity of WebRTC."

2011. Panasonic offers Cloud PBX instead of hardware

Panasonic is a world leading manufacturer of PBX hardware for small and medium businesses. And this company is quite satisfied with today's state of things. But the market dictates new terms: the cheap virtual PBX are gradually replacing the expensive hardware systems. So Panasonic is introducing its own SaaS service Panasonic Cloud, which is available only in US so far. It's a fully featured telephone system delivered from the Panasonic cloud. However, unlike most virtual PBX providers, Panasonic doesn't want to completely replace equipment by the service. In order to use the Panasonic Cloud company should buy at least one base station and one wireless ip-phone. The number of phones can be increased to 8. And all of them are programmed to work only with Panasonic Cloud, and if the company wants to move to another SIP PBX provider, it will not be able to use these phones. ***

2011. Microsoft unplugs Skype from Asterisk

Today Digium (the developer of the open-source PBX-platform Asterisk) has notified its customers that the sales of its product Skype for Asterisk will be terminated since July 26. Recall, Skype and Digium released this Skype for Asterisk connector back in 2009. It allows companies that use Asterisk-based PBX-systems to integrate them with the Skype network and make / receive Skype-calls using the regular office phones. But the new Skype's owner Microsoft, of course, has no particular desire to support the free Asterisk, that competes with its own product Lync (MS Communications Server). So Microsoft decided not to prolong the contract with Digium. Digium assured that existing Skype for Asterisk users will be able to use their Skype-channels during two more years. ***

2010. Lync 2010 becomes social

Oh, we didn't rename our products for so long time, thought people in Microsoft and decided to rename MS Office Communications Server to Lync. The new version Lync 2010 with a status "release candidate" is already available for free download and contains a large number of new features as compared to OCS. Most interesting are social features, that we used to see more in social networks rather than in VoIP-solutions. First, the activity feeds that you can subscribe to view contact's status changes. Like in the location-services, Lync can determine the actual contact location by the network point to which he is currently connected. People search allows you to find the right person in the company by name and by the area of expertise. Another interesting feature - context call that allows users to push the conversation subject before making a call, so the contact could better prepair to the conversation. ***

2007. IBM follows Microsoft with unified communications push

The competition in the unified communications market intensifies as IBM introduces a new range of collaboration products in partnership with Siemens. This collaboration aims to expand the capabilities of IBM's Lotus Sametime software, including telephony integration software. Meanwhile, Microsoft is gearing up for the launch of Office Communications Server 2007 on October 16, targeting larger enterprises, while also planning to offer unified communications as an on-demand service for smaller businesses. Unified communications bring together various communication channels and applications, enabling easier and more efficient communication across different devices. IBM's Lotus Sametime product family, with a focus on the Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony software, incorporates Siemens' OpenScape technology. This partnership with Siemens surprises many, considering Siemens' close ties to Microsoft in the unified communications space. IBM appears to be diversifying its network supplier partnerships, including Cisco, to penetrate the enterprise market with its Lotus Sametime collaboration offering. Additionally, IBM is collaborating with Nortel to introduce another unified communications platform by the end of the year. Nortel is already Microsoft's primary hardware provider for Office Communications Server 2007. IBM's choice of Siemens is based on the technology's interoperability with multiple PBX systems and its reputation for innovation and vision. Both companies aim to develop unified communications solutions based on open standards that seamlessly integrate into business processes. Siemens' OpenScape has already been adopted by prominent companies such as SAP, Accenture, and PepsiCo.

2007. Microsoft wants your office phone

At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Los Angeles, Microsoft and nine prominent phone manufacturers, including Asustek Computer, GN, LG-Nortel, NEC, Plantronics, Polycom, Samsung, Tatung, and Vitelix, jointly announced the public beta program for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007. During the event, Microsoft shared design specifications for the new communication framework with the manufacturers. As several products are reaching the final stages of Microsoft qualification, Office Communicator enables employees to seamlessly connect their office phones, cell phones, and online messenger services through Microsoft Office, allowing calls to follow them wherever they go. With the design specifications provided by Microsoft at WinHEC, customers can confidently select phones that meet the qualifications, ensuring seamless integration with Office Communicator.

2007. Microsoft Office finds its voice

Microsoft is preparing to release a beta version of its voice over IP (VoIP) software, marking a significant milestone in the advancement of corporate communications. The public beta release of Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007, Microsoft's VoIP and unified communications server and client respectively, will be available for testing later this month. With this move, Microsoft enters the competitive field of IP telephony and unified communications software, posing a challenge not only to traditional telephony players like Avaya but also to its rival Cisco Systems. As the leading supplier of desktop software to businesses worldwide, Microsoft's influence is expected to have a major impact on the market. However, beyond introducing a new competitor, Microsoft's entry signifies the next stage in communications evolution. By integrating voice services into Microsoft Office applications, telephony becomes a software feature rather than a standalone product, eliminating the need for separate hardware and dedicated technicians. This shift enables the integration of telephony with various applications, including web technologies and business applications, providing a seamless user experience. Microsoft's software-based approach to IP telephony aims to reduce costs and enhance communication efficiency, offering users new value by integrating voice and unified communications into their everyday productivity and business applications. The company's collaboration with Nortel Networks further strengthens its comprehensive solution for corporate customers, encompassing infrastructure equipment, call-signaling software, and desktop software for seamless integration with business applications.

2006. Microsoft's corporate IM goes mobile

During the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft revealed its plans to expand its corporate instant messaging offering to mobile devices. The product, called Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile, will operate on the Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005. This mobile client will seamlessly integrate with the desktop version of the software, enabling mobile workers to engage in instant messaging even while away from their desks. In addition to secure instant messaging, the mobile product will incorporate voice over Internet Protocol services and "presence" features that indicate a user's online status, phone activity, or absence from the office. This development aligns with Microsoft's vision of unified communications, empowering information workers to have real-time communication capabilities accessible anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The availability of Communicator Mobile for download is expected within the next 60 days for Live Communication Server customers. Notably, Microsoft had previously announced the accessibility of corporate instant messaging through the web via Office Communicator Web Access, allowing employees to access corporate IM from non-Windows devices and locked-down machines that prohibit software installations.

2006. Microsoft to launch Office Live beta

On Wednesday, Microsoft is set to launch the beta version of Office Live, a suite of web hosting and business applications aimed at small companies with fewer than 10 employees. The company aims to address the fact that although nearly 90% of these businesses have internet access, only around half have their own website. Over 100,000 businesses have already signed up for the beta test. During the beta phase, Microsoft is offering services such as email, web domains, and website hosting for free, with plans to introduce subscription-based packages once Office Live moves to its final version in November. Microsoft has categorized the services into three tiers, with the entry-level service, Office Live Basics, providing users with their own internet domain, email storage, web storage, data transfer capabilities, and site analytics. Office Live Essentials offers similar services but on a larger scale, while Office Live Collaboration focuses on providing online business applications. Microsoft's move into the small business market is seen as an attempt to encourage adoption of its services and potentially attract new customers for its MSN adCenter online advertising engine. However, the challenge lies in ensuring that businesses remain committed to their free Office Live websites in the long run. The company plans to introduce paid options for additional features, with prices expected to be under $50 per month.

2005. Microsoft to debut Web-based Communicator

Microsoft has introduced a web-based version of its enterprise messaging software, known as Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access. This release aims to offer customers enhanced flexibility in accessing Microsoft's collaboration and communication tools. By utilizing Communicator Web Access alongside the Live Communications Server software, users can access Microsoft's instant messaging (IM) system from any internet-connected device. The company is also preparing to launch the latest desktop version of Communicator, Microsoft Office Communicator 2005, before the end of June. Microsoft has already commenced manufacturing the product. This move is part of Microsoft's broader strategy to provide users with widespread access to a comprehensive and integrated communication experience, encompassing rich presence features.

2005. Microsoft, Siemens push to collaborate

On Tuesday, Microsoft and Siemens Communications Group announced a partnership aimed at marketing and selling a suite of software tools for improved corporate web conferencing and communication. As part of the multiyear agreement, Siemens will integrate its HiPath OpenScape Telephony Control Link with Microsoft's Office Live Communications Server 2005 and "Istanbul" instant messaging client. This integration will enable Microsoft Office users to initiate phone calls with a simple click, using a PBX or Internet-PBX connected phone provided by Siemens or other vendors. The technologies will work in conjunction with desk phones, notifying users of incoming calls and offering options to redirect calls to cell phones or voice mailboxes. The Istanbul client will sync with Outlook's calendar and scheduling information, providing additional details for locating recipients. The OpenScape telephony control link and Istanbul client are scheduled for release in the first half of the year and will be integrated into existing product lines. Pricing details have not been disclosed. Sales representatives from both companies will collaborate with customers, representing their respective products, without entering into a reseller agreement. This partnership strengthens Microsoft and Siemens' efforts to enhance communication among workers. Microsoft's Live Communications Server 2005 and Istanbul will integrate with Office Live Meeting, the company's web conferencing service, while Siemens' HiPath OpenScape serves as a collaboration portal, enabling communication across various devices. Together, these technologies aim to combine telephony, video, instant messaging, and web conferencing into a comprehensive suite of software tools. The focus on "presence" emphasizes the goal of enabling smarter communication choices, where individuals can easily locate and reach each other in real-time. The implementation of presence is still in progress, but Microsoft and Siemens are committed to delivering enhanced presence and collaboration solutions to their customers.

2003. Lotus to expand collaboration tools

IBM's Lotus software division is preparing to unveil new additions to its Workplace collaboration tools. Workplace, introduced earlier this year, aims to streamline teamwork and productivity. At its core, Workplace incorporates an instant messaging service based on Sun Microsystems' Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), providing a compact messaging framework that can be integrated into various environments. The upcoming enhancements to Workplace will include web conferencing functions based on Lotus' Sametime conferencing software, offering simplified tools for setting up online meetings. Additionally, document management features will be added, aligning content management with document sharing capabilities. IBM sees the boundaries between collaboration and content management blurring and is expanding its focus on content services within Workplace. This broader strategy places IBM's Lotus division in direct competition with Microsoft's Office suite, which now includes collaboration services.

2003. Microsoft launches Office Live Communications Server

Microsoft is poised to embark on its most aggressive endeavor yet to market instant messaging services to businesses. While MSN Messenger continues to attract web users beyond the corporate firewall, Windows Messenger serves as the foundation for Microsoft's ambitious project: Office Live Communications Server 2003 (LCS), its latest business instant messaging (IM) offering. Here's a glimpse of the current capabilities of LCS: Picture an employee receiving an Excel spreadsheet authored by a colleague. With LCS, a SmartTag appears beneath the author's name, enabling the employee to right-click on the link and instantly view the author's online status. The author may be away or available online, allowing the employee to initiate an IM conversation by launching a chat window and sending a message. For large-scale purchasers, the server software will be priced at $733, with an additional $25 client license fee per person. It's important to note that LCS requires the company to operate Windows Server 2003 software in order to function effectively.

2003. Lotus Notes 6.5 features Lotus Sametime integration

The latest release of Lotus Notes 6.5 introduces enhanced integration with the enterprise messenger IBM Lotus Sametime. This integration allows Lotus Notes client users to easily view the real-time online status of their colleagues and initiate chat conversations with just a single click, directly from the address book, for instance. Moreover, with the newly introduced Lotus Domino Designer 6.5, developers now have the capability to incorporate the online status and chat functionality into custom applications developed on the Lotus Domino platform.

1999. Lotus ships enterprise messenger Lotus Sametime

Today, IBM has introduced Lotus Sametime, a cutting-edge solution designed for instant messaging and internet-based collaboration. This robust platform is built on the foundation of Ubique, a company acquired by IBM, and comprises two key components: the Sametime Connect Client and the Sametime Server. Lotus Sametime offers a range of powerful functionalities, including real-time online status monitoring, instant messaging, and object sharing. With object sharing, users can seamlessly collaborate on documents and applications over the internet, akin to the capabilities offered by Microsoft NetMeeting. The Sametime Server is priced at $5,000, while the client license costs $20 per user. Lotus Sametime can be obtained as a standalone product or as an integrated component of Lotus Notes/Domino.

Editor: Adam Levine
Adam is an expert in project management, collaboration and productivity technologies, team management, and motivation. With an extensive background working at prestigious companies such as Microsoft and Accenture, Adam's in-depth knowledge and experience in the field make him a sought-after professional. Currently, he has ventured into entrepreneurship, owning a thriving consulting and training agency where he imparts invaluable insights and practical strategies to individuals and organizations, empowering them to achieve their goals and maximize their potential. You can contact Adam via email