The Death of PBX

Retrospecting a few decades, the tedious task of setting up an organization involved PBX and LAN-Cabling, along with other imperative setup activities. Furthermore, every desk would require a phone which in turn was connected to the central PBX. The PBX was connected to the exterior Network/Channel, with generally Analog or maybe Digital trunks.

However, in recent times, VoIP has taken control. The PBX-Cable was replaced with or in a better way used for Voice Transport. It can be easily said the PBX started to deprecate across organizations. The final nail to the Coffin was the advent of Mobile Phones, which resulted in a dramatic decrease in the use of PBX across larger Corporations. The question arises, “Is PBX on its deathbed or already Dead”?

Positively, The PBX is a ghost now. The PBX for internal communication is nothing better than to be pronounced dead. The PBX usage to reach customers is tending zero. It just adds to the fact that PBX as a means of communication is no longer in the league.

It’s agreeable whatever I just added but it’s not the complete picture. PBX is undergoing a disruptive evolutionary transformation. It is emerging as an important piece to the puzzle of communication for future corporations because of its two core functionalities:

  • Enterprise Connectivity: Today’s enterprises have diverged into islands, islands of Intercom, islands of Emails. Islands of SMS, Island of CRM, ISLAND of Surveillance, and so on. There is a missing connection across these so-called islands. Smart and Intelligent Applications can be created by allowing these islands to join into a mainland. This mainland is the newly transformed PBX, introduced as PDX – Private Device Exchange.

  • Enterprise Efficiency: By establishing enterprise connectivity, the bigger problem at bay is the volume of data. However, if the management of this big data is mastered, it suddenly opens innumerable possibilities. For instance, call centers represent the face and major PR of the organization. Brands are made and broken by the words of their employees. Combined with analytics and techniques like ML, AI, etc, in the big data environment, the PDX helps enterprises improve external communication, identifying critical conversations, and establishing control.

This was just an overview of what was to come. Let’s explore the above core functionalities in detail.

PBX to PDX (Private Branch Exchange to Private Device Exchange)

This is a smart age. Intelligence and convergence have led to the development of smart-phones, smartwatches, smart switches, and everything Smarter. Anyone who finds it intriguing, wonders, how does it happen, how can devices do what they do?

Well. These devices work on variables, and easily sense and record their change in states, and in turn trigger actions/events in threshold or critical conditions. That said, can’t be done or achieved if these devices lack connectivity to the surroundings. These devices record data, from the surroundings using sensors, cameras, and even phones. The recorded data are processed and actions are initiated. These actions could be in turn as briefly said above alarms to individuals, calls, relay motions, etc.

The need of the hour is to have a platform smart to seamlessly integrate the three’ recorders, processors, and actors. The IP PBX or the transformed PBX, that is PDX is the platform to solve the problem. In an Enterprise environment, the PDX serves as one device which provides this connectivity. To elaborate on this, we will take up some real-life scenarios and test their reliability.

Surveillance Alarms over Phone on Activity Detection

In PDX, the surveillance cameras are connected to the PDX over IP. The camera records the live feed and the surveillance processor takes the feeds and records them for future monitoring. On the top of this layer are an anomaly detection monitor that detects activity on the scene and reports anomalies.

The use case may be while there are no employees present on the premises. In case the monitor is triggered, it can send an SMS, or email and also make calls to Mobile or Landline and play pre-recorded messages, depending on the premises, where activity was detected.

These methods may also be installed in locations, where the environment is hazardous for humans. This results in enormous cost-saving in terms of humans deployed to achieve the same results.

Call Center Voice Processing

The advent of technologies has led to increased online activities and transactions. This puts the companies under pressure and to be available 24X7 to their customers’ needs across various platforms. This has led companies to seek help from call centers to be the voice of their service. The practice of moving out of the house and filing a complaint or going and transact has become history. Everything is possible remote while being at home with just some clicks. Eventually, the count of online transactions has increased tenfold and is expanding each passing day, and in case of any ambiguity or issues, one dial-up the call center at will.

There is a need to groom the call center agents to represent the brand attractively. This also puts an expectation bar, if the agents are doing a good job, as thousands of calls flow daily and a bad call may lead to very bad PR. There is also added monitoring that’s required. Manual monitoring of the agents can be achieved by sort of peer monitoring, which will result in doubling the human resources required. Many of the established call centers resort to sampling, which still results in an additional 30-40% workforce.

Today, with the advanced algorithm of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing, when integrated into a PDX setup, can intelligently detect, and process communication to overcome the above difficulties.

The processing can include the identification of multiple elements like Greetings, Regulatory Announcements, Bad Words, Pleasing words and so and so forth. Based on the analysis, the recordings are marked for further processing by humans. Furthermore, based on manual analysis, decisions like more training or shifting to another department can evolve. This form of processing reduces the number of quality check teams required by at least 50%.

Profiling with Big Data:

In the above scenario, we can take a step up the screening to profile the agents based on big data processing. The information concluded by the voice file processing can be expanded by the multitude of further information like

  • Call Information: Duration, Date, Time, Disposition,

  • HR information of agent: Age, Demographics, Education, Experience, and

  • Customer Profile from CRM: Age, Demographics, Education, Payment History.

Based on all the above information, clustering operations can be carried out to identify interesting patterns. Once interesting patterns are identified, they can be used for the future design of processes. Examples of such patterns are:

  • Pattern: Customer purchases are more when the agent and customer are of the same age group.

  • Design of Process: Identify the customer from the calling number, pickup his age from the CRM database, and route the calls to an agent with a similar age group.

  • Pattern: Young graduates purchase more when the calls are between 7 PM and 8 PM. It is possible that young graduates are all employed and therefore during the day, they’ll engage in their workplace.

  • Design of Process: Calls to graduates should be times between 7 PM and 8 PM.

The possibilities such a big data analysis are immense and PDX creates a nice platform to bring together all the information

Garage Opener from Mobile Phone

Let’s take an organization for instance having 500 employees. The organization has a remote-controlled Garage Door Opener. The management would have to provide and manage 500 remotes or IDs for the employees to use the Garage. This gets tedious and stressful for both the employer and the employee under circumstance if an employee forgets the ID or loses it.

To overcome this problem, a PDX can be set up. All employees carry a mobile phone. The employee can be at the door and just make a call to the registered number and the door opens via mobile number authorization from the employee database. The same concept can be deployed into floor doors, conference rooms, AC, etc.


PDX opens up a plethora of opportunities, limited only by our imagination. My recommendation is for the IT managers to study the IP PBX environment and its transformation into the PDX.

Once the underlying principles are understood, the abstraction is easier to understand and implement and even materials to the imagination of the managers. (Do not forget to study a large number of Open Source Tools available, be it AsteriskTM, Hadoop, Python Speech Recognition, ML tools. It is surely fun to design new tools for efficient collaboration of enterprise Islands to improve the overall efficiency of the Organisation).

Please comment below your view on the article.