Is the End of the “Cloud PBX” Near?



Almost 10 years ago, at The Flat Planet Phone Company, we were one of the first companies to offer a  Hosted  PBX for small businesses now known as  a “Cloud  PBX”.  Over the years, thousands of companies joined the party and are now offering a Cloud PBX solution. Time flies, and  it is now time we declare the ‘End of the Cloud PBX”

Some readers of this blog may ask, where are you rushing to?  If it ain’t broken, why fix it? My answer is – why use old inflexible technology, when we can give our customers a better experience ?!?

If we look a little at the history of the Cloud PBX, we will notice that the original Hosted PBX offerings were not really innovative. All we did was take the old office switchboard and put it in a data center, which we renamed as The Cloud. The functionality stayed the same, but we now had the advantage of accessing and using our PBX from multiple locations. Nice but still not really revolutionary.

Remember the Browser War that ended the 20th Century? Netscape vs. Microsoft? Well they are coming back. Maybe you have noticed that most of your computer tasks are now done in a browser and not on your computer. Google has been pushing this for years. It is of course to their advantage that you stay in their browser at all times. The browser has become so important, that Google built a new type of computer,  the Chromebook, that is  based on using a browser exclusively!  The importance of the browser is the reason  Microsoft is putting such a big effort in porting their software to the cloud and in developing a new browser – Microsoft Edge. We are now in the midst of Browser War II!

Ok, so we do our email, our purchases, our banking and our social life in a browser. But there is one function that we still use external apps for, on the most part, and that is Telephony. Google noticed this about five years ago, and as a result, dedicated a team to promote WebRTC. What is WebRTC? As my friend Tsahi likes to say – WebRTC is a technology that brings Voice over IP to the browser natively. Tsahi has a very good post that explains this. The bottom line is that you can have all the functionality of a PBX in your browser without downloading or installing anything.  Goodbye Cloud PBX.

Anyone who has worked in the telecom industry is familiar how conservative and slow moving it is. Telecom must be super reliable and over the years the industry has developed standards and rules that ensure that new developments are deployed very slowly. Building a new feature or service with telecom engineers can take years. However, now that telephony is on the web, you no longer need telecom engineers. Want to develop a new telephone service? Web developers to the rescue! Not only that, you can build applications and mashups just like you would do on any web service.  The sky is the limit.

This is why I am so excited about Fone.Do. When we established Fone.Do last year one of the first decisions we made was to hire  developers without any telecom experience. We are happy we did that. Just think, there is so much data on the web. Wouldn’t it be great to receive a call and know much more than just the name of the caller? How about if you  could do something with that call  based on the info?  Like I wrote above  – The Sky is the Limit. We are flying above The Clouds. Look up and wave!