Think you know everything there is to know about 3CX? As the software PBX keeps evolving and new features are added, even seasoned users may be surprised by what it can do. 3CX is a powerful communications system. That much is obvious, as reflected in its groaning trophy cabinets. Here, though, we move away from the obvious and straight to the areas that can surprise customers, old and new. 1. Clientless web meetings Clientless web meetings are an inclusion that still surprises people, even though 3CX introduced a clientless web conferencing solution way back in August 2014. You can host a full-fat web conference directly from your browser – with no need for anyone to download annoying plugins. That could mean sharing a sales pitch via a 20-slide PowerPoint presentation sitting on the host’s desktop. it could mean running a training session for new employees who are scattered around your branch offices; or it could just be a straightforward catch-up meeting with one of your clients. The point is that it’s hassle-free – it just works – and when you’re finished, no-one has annoying extra tasks clogging up their system. Close the browser window and you’re done. 2. Make calls from your browser Many people assume that, if you want to make a call direct from your computer, you need to download a client. This used to be true, but with the latest release of3CX, it’s now possible to place calls from your browser. This service is still in beta and isn’t switched on by default, so if you’re interested then head to the management console. (If you want to try it right now, head to Settings | PBX | General | Enable WebRTC softphone. If you can’t see this option, make sure you’re on V15.5 Update 6.) From this point on, all your users will have the option of calling from their 3CX web client whenever they click on the blue phone icon in the top-right corner. And because it uses WebRTC, it doesn’t matter whether you’re running Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Opera – it will just work. 3. One console to rule them all We’ve already touched on the 3CX management console, and for good reason: this is the nerve centre for all things 3CX. It shows everything you need in one easy view, grouped by System Status, PBX Status and Information. Take System Status. At a glance, you can see disk usage, for instance, so it’s obvious if you have enough space for call recordings and logs. You can also track processor usage. Naturally, there will be spikes now and then, but you’ll be able to easily tell if you’re pushing the processor too hard too often, and whether it’s time to upgrade. The PBX Status gives you a quick overview of key information about the 3CX installation. For instance, if you have a licence for 64 simultaneous calls then you can see how many are being used at any one time. The console is also the place to control advanced settings such as your digital receptionist – which we covered in PCPro back in issue 284, p48. Or head to pcpro.link/291virtual. 4. Use any platform Many phone systems are fussy about what they run on. Some will only run in the cloud, others demand precise hardware and software combinations for on premise installations. Not so 3CX, which has been designed to give you the choice of deployment options depending on your preferences. Want to run it in the cloud? No problem, with a choice of vendors that includes OVH, 1&1, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Or perhaps you’d like to run it on an existing server in a VM? Again, not an issue, with a choice of Hyper-V or VMware. Perhaps you want to run 3CX on a dedicated PC using Windows or Linux. Again, this isn’t a challenge, with 3CX designed so it can run from an Atom-based system such as an Intel NUC box. 5. Instant provisioning It’s crazily easy to set new people up on their own smartphone; if they can download an app, they can do it themselves. All they need to do is download the 3CX app on Android or iOS, where they’re asked to scan a QR code – this is found in Settings | Scan QR Code. Within an instant of lifting their phone to the screen, the app will have all the settings they need. 6. Switch from audio to video mid-call making audio calls to video, but there are times when you realise you need to speak face to face – perhaps to share something you can see. With 3CX, it’s possible to jump from one medium to the other mid-call – in fact, it’s as simple as pressing a button. If you want to invite other people – and, in effect, create an ad hoc video conference – that’s no problem, either. Just use the Add Caller button to invite them. 7. Save a heck of a lot of money Some cost savings are obvious. If you’re a larger business servicing an old PBX then switching to 3CX could save you thousands of pounds per year on annual contracts alone. However, even the tiniest of companies could save cash. There’s even a permanent four-SIM Standard licence that’s free of charge, which is enough for 16 extensions. But some savings are more subtle. “3CX has cut Phillip’s phone costs sharply",” said Bob Bell, director of information technology at Philips Securities Group. “Voice calls go out over the IP phone system, and are routed over the PSTN at the lowest cost. The company’s eight offices are bridged, and interoffice calls become free with IP telephony.” Want to try it yourself? Head to www.3cx.com and download it for free.