Key Telephone Systems (known by insiders as KTS) have been the mainstay of small businesses for over half a century.
Key systems featured direct connections to the telco for dialtone, and shared line appearances in the office. That is, incoming calls ring every phone in the shop and anyone can answer, put a caller on hold, and use the intercom to tell Bob to "Pick up on 3; it's your wife."
Practically anyone who's worked in a small office understands this system, and many hold them in high esteem. Fortunate for key system aficionados, Packet8 Hosted Key System, a phone system that looks and acts like an old-time key system is now available from hosted PBX service provider 8x8 Inc.
Piggybacked onto the announcement of Hosted Key System service was the introduction of a new line of IP phones, the Packet8 675xi series, developed by technology partner Aastra Telecom. (For what it's worth, the three modelsthe entry-level 6753i, mid-range 6755i, and executive-class 6757i CT, with its auxiliary wireless DECT handsetlook on the outside very much like Aastra's own-branded 53i, 55i, and 57i CT.)
The definitive feature of these phones is the ability to support up to nine simultaneous calls, giving the Packet8 Key System nine-line capacity.
The 675xi series phones can all display and search numbers in a corporate contact directory (included in the service), and they all support power over Ethernet (PoE) so they don't require a separate power connection.
According to 8x8 vice president of sales and marketing, Huw Reese, cost savings and familiarity are the big selling points for the new service. "Our new line of IP phones has enabled us to deploy one of the first hosted key system services in the world, enabling businesses to benefit from the lower costs associated with VoIP while maintaining the familiar key system feature set they are used to," he said.
But there's at least one more significant advantage of 8x8's hosted service: With Packet8, the phones don't have to be in the same office. Not only can they occupy separate locations, you can unplug them and move them aroundwhereverand they still function as part of the virtual key system.
There's nothing like having the best of the old and the best of the new.