THE EVOLUTION OF
BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEMS
A look at how the business phone system has
evolved for successful small business growth.
The first telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. By the beginning of the 1900s
almost 6 million people were using Bell’s telephone system. Fast forward a few decades later and you
can see that the common business phone systems required different equipment and processes just to
make a phone call.
Long distance calls without the assistance of an operator was introduced in the early 1950s and over
the course of the decade became accessible nationwide. By then, Key telephone systems from the Bell
Telephone Company, like the 1A of Western Electric Company, became commonplace and generated
new demand for features like the intercom.
Up until the 1960s, communications relied on receptionists manually connecting calls using a
telephone switchboard. The introduction of Private Automatic Branch Exchanges (PABX) streamlined
business phone systems and helped reduce costs. Using a PABX meant businesses needed fewer lines
since outside lines didn’t need to be used for internal communication.
During the 1970s international long distance calling was introduced, as well as the first mobile cell
phone. Although its capacity was nothing close to what we have today, it marked a shift in the way
people thought about communication.
Eventually, automated electromechanical and electronic switching systems began replacing the
manual switchboard to offer streamlined communications; however, the development continued with
personal computers being introduced in the early 1980s and the ability to transmit data over
The 1990s is when VoIP technology really started to become popular since it allowed voice exchange
on PCs and other communication devices. The ISDN PBX system started to replace the traditional
analogue PBX system from the 1960s.
Since the 1990s, the traditional PBX system has been evolving into what we know today as an IP PBX
system. With the increased use of the internet, business phone systems evolved toward integration
with computer systems.
With high-speed broadband widely available and more ways to communicate than ever before, VoIP is
in high demand and is becoming standard for the modern small business phone system. We have
come a long way from Bell’s first phones but business phone systems will continue to evolve as long as
advances in technology continue.
EVOLVE YOUR BUSINESS