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Office 365 Cloud PBX Reduces Corporate Communication Costs and Improves Productivity

If your organization is considering purchasing a new PBX system, or is planning to upgrade its existing PBX System, then consider the Microsoft Office 365 Cloud PBX system. Cloud PBX comes part of the Office 365 E5 Plan, which retails for $ 33.00 USD, or can be purchased independently using a combination of Skype for Business Plan 2 plus the Cloud PBX Plan for a combination of $ 13.00 USD per user per month.

The combination of Skype for Business and Cloud PBX is an alternate corporate telephony solution to installing and deploying traditional PBX systems, as it replaces the traditional telephony hardware with a modern communications suite; offering several advantages over a traditional PBX. Today’s work force needs to be functional from anywhere, on any device, and at any time, leading to a constantly evolving business requirement. Traditional telephones tie an employee to a desk, and are therefore a thing of the past. So let’s eliminate that old school expenditure.

The following questions often come up about deploying Cloud PBX in the MENA region:

Q1: Is it legal to deploy a Cloud PBX system in this region?
A1: Yes, it is. We are still acquiring telephone numbers from the local telco’s and integrating these numbers into the service

Q2: Prerequisites for Skype for Business and Cloud PBX requires complex servers and software. How can this be a cost-effective solution?
A2: We utilize a Cloud Connector version of the gateway which replaces complex server architecture as shown below. Several new devices are now available with the gateway and Cloud Connector built into a single box, which interface either to incoming PRI or an analog lines.

Topology diagram showing Cloud PBX Gateway connecting Cloud PBX to an on-premises deployment of Skype for Business

Q3: What features are supported on Cloud PBX compared to a Skype for Business On-premises installation?
A3: The following table compares the features available on Cloud PBX versus Skype for Business On-Premises. (A lot is dependent on the type of Cloud Connector Gateway deployed)

Skype for Business Capabilities

  • Basic Call Features (Hold/ Retrieve, Transfer, Forwarding)
    Voice Mail
  • USB Peripherals
  • Delegation, Team Call
  • Voice Resiliency
  • Branch Survivability
  • Location-Based Routing
  • Call Admission Control
  • Integration with On-Premises PBX
  • IP Phones “Optimized for Skype for Business”
  • IP Phones “Compatible with Skype for Business”
  • Analog Devices
  • Common Area Phone

Skype for Business On-Premise

  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes

Cloud PBX with On-Premise PSTN Connectivity

  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes User must be in the same environment
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes Polycom CX600, CX3000*; Mitel, HP, etc., w/latest firmware, Polycom VVX201-VVX600 series with UCS 5.4.0A firmware
  • Yes Using On-Premises Deployment
  • Yes Using On-Premises Deployment


As seen from the above table, most of the features available on a traditional PBX are available via the Cloud PBX and Skype for Business combination. Skype for Business further enhances the communication capability of the organization by making available the following additional features not available on a traditional PBX solution:

Instant Presence and Messaging:
Instantly detect your colleague’s presence from Outlook, which instantly facilitates high quality video sessions. With Skype for Business, users can easily schedule an online meeting with video or seamlessly escalate an IM session to a video call.

Teams can do more than talk. They can also share their desktops, documents, applications, online whiteboards and presentations – both internally and outside the organization.

Webinars have become an effective way to hold product demos, training sessions and general company meetings. Skype for Business easily facilitates this, saving organizations lots of time and costs by eliminating travel expenses. (Skype for Business accommodates 250 participants in a single meeting).

Skype Meeting Broadcast also accommodates up to 10,000 people in large webinars, thus eliminating the need to purchase other meeting broadcast tools and software.

What about regular Telephony features you ask?
This is the best part. An organization can route calls to PC’s which would have a USB headphone attached to it, or a regular phone with the Skype for Business client pre-installed in it. Additionally, users can answer calls via mobile devices and tablets as well.

Therefore, why would an organization consider deploying any other solution when the combination of Skype for Business and Cloud PBX modernizes an organizations communications infrastructure? Let us help you plan your new communications system.

Talk to our Cloud Consultants

Altaf Alimohamed's picture
About the Author

Altaf Alimohamed - Managing Director
Altaf is Managing Director of Media Solutions, a pioneer in blended Cloud based IT Solutions and Digital Marketing Services. He has more than 20 years of professional experience in Arabia and has held senior positions in Canada, Hong Kong, India, and the UAE. His passion resides among all things technology and digital.

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