From PBX to SAX?


Wonderful. Another TLA in the world of telephony: SAX, or Services Access Exchange. Jim Burton, CEO of CT Link, shares his prediction:

We are at the very early stages of the office phone evolution, but it is easy to predict that in the future the majority of office phones will be wireless. This will dovetail with the evolution of how these devices get connected – the role traditionally played by a PBX. In the white paper I predicted a new Connection Model – how we will communicate based on various use cases. In very simple terms, a series of SIP servers – at home, in the office and in the cloud, will communicate to connect users to each other and provide them with access to information.

What does this mean for the future for the PBX? Well, the PBX as we’ve known it will disappear, as it evolves into a Services Access Exchange (SAX). The SAX will know where you are, what devices are available near you and the capabilities of those devices, such as display size, bandwidth, etc.

But for this to occur, the carriers/service providers need to evolve their strategy, as do the vendors providing call control functionality. Some early signs of a shift are visible, although it may be another 5-10 years before everything is in place for this prediction to become a reality.

That’s quite a prediction considering PBXs have been around for decades and are the results of millions of dollars of R&D investment. I’m less optimistic on the time frame, though — 20 years out would be my bet. If COBOL can still play a crucial role in today’s financial transactions, then I don’t see the PBX going away that easily in tomorrow’s telecom market. Even today, instead of ripping out COBOL code and rewriting in another modern programming language, most solutions revolve around adding API layers between the COBOL code and other service modules. Similarly, customers are less inclined to lift and rip their PBX hardware or software to replace it with something else. Maybe SAX-like features will start to exist in PBXs gradually, but the traditional PBX will still have its place in the enterprise.

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