While the term ‘BYO PBX’ has not yet been entered our lexicon, or even the Urban Dictionary for that matter — it’s the belief of ChannelPartners Senior IT Editor Ellen Muraskin that Millennials have already added it to their vernacular.
But what does this acronym stand for, and why are the youngest members of the workforce embracing it? Well, if you break it down and are an avid ‘local restaurant patron’ you’re probably familiar with the meaning of “BYO” — particularly as it applies to bringing your own alcoholic beverage or bottle to dinner, as in the acronym “BYOB.”
“PBX” on the other hand is an outdated technical acronym as it translates to the “Private Branch Exchange,” which in the middle of the last century became more commonly known as the “telephone switchboard.” This was a board of electrical switches used by hundreds of operators who physically connected incoming and outgoing calls for a particular business, locale, town, or metro area.
Fast forward 50 years, and the advancement of telecommunications moved from a “circuit-switched” based telephony system carrying analog voice transmissions to VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol]. This advancement now uses the Internet instead of wire circuitry to handle “packet-switched data” where one’s voice could travel to its intended destination seamlessly and at much greater speeds than what went before.
Survey Says . . .
In July, Edgewater Networks surveyed 1250 SMBs regarding VoIP adoption. The results were less than expected. Only 36 percent of this group had made the transition from POT [plain old telephone] to VoIP service. The encouraging news however was that the greater majority had declared their intention to convert within the next two years.
Muraskin explained the results as a generational preference, where Millennials outpaced Boomers widely as VoIP early adopters.
“That’s because the unified communications features that typically comes with VoIP – like instant messaging, screen sharing, conferencing, graphical screen pop-ups, click-to-call, etc. – have a lot in common with the communication styles of post-boomer generations,” asserts Muraskin.
“Today’s under-50 and tomorrow’s employees expect those functions, and they expect voice and data apps to be integrated, if they talk at all,” she added.
As a Demographic . . .
According to a Pew Research Center report, they are highly educated, self-confident and ambitious. They are frequent users of social media for communicating and research, and they produce millions of posts on social media per minute.
Digital Natives or Immigrants
Sometimes describes as ‘digital natives’ or ‘digital immigrants,’ Millennials cut their teeth on a lot of the consumer-focused technology and are fluent in collaborating in a lot of different ways. Shifting from instant messaging to video chats to screen-sharing are old hat to this crowd that grew up multi-tasking.
So, if you are considering implementing VoIP and its associated collaboration platforms at your office, consider bringing some of your millennial staff into the project as key collaborators, input-givers and decision-makers.
Going Forward . . .
Millennials don’t like to be tied down or restrained in the workplace. They grew up in a mobile society – always on the move – always gravitating toward the next shiny new thing. Millennials are obsessed with their smartphones. As parents can attest, the greater majority rise and sleep with their phones at-the-ready, every day and night. They will lead the VoIP technological advancements as time goes on, so it’s wise for SMBs and even large brands to follow their trend-setting lead.
Ron is part of the marketing team at Telzio, covering everything from tips and tech for growing businesses to customer success stories for the Telzio blog. Previously a Director of Advertising and Public Relations at Marriott International, Ron has published several books including the award-winning graphic novel Facebucks.