The history of telecom is quite anomalous. The telecom systems and networks that were designed and implemented in the 20th century have been unmatched even by the development of microprocessors and computers in terms of computational and networking engineering. While technological developments brought about microprocessors that resulted in development of PCs and then in client/server networks, the telecom systems and networks, as well as companies that produced phone switches for businesses stayed unaffected. Not surprising, though, that due to complexity of computational hardware used for business phone systems, businesses resisted making phones function like computers. Since computer industry can make different technologies compatible with each other on vendor-independent standards basis, it was easier to make computers perform like phones.
Computer telephony and private branch exchange system
Computer telephony can be indebted to the fact that if companied wanted to install some add-on applications to their existing private branch exchange system (PBX), they had to address original virtual PBX system vendor, or approved and certified third party to implement new features in compliance to specifications of the PBX system vendor.
Since it was excessively expensive for the companies writing add-on software to develop add-ons for numerous PBX vendors, it was difficult to find good PBX vendor-independent applications. Consequently, willing to add, for example, a reporting system that would match and complement existing PBX switch, businesses were deemed to use limited options of buying from original PBX vendor, its certified partner, or develop necessary application with the help of in-house staff. However, none of the available options was attractive due to time required for getting desired result and cost associated with the whole process.
Thus, observant and enthusiastic players in computer and PBX industries took a step in grasping more similarities than differences between PBX systems and computers. They, therefore, attempted to combine performance of both PBX and computers in computer telephony integration. The only thing that would make the process easier and more effective was opening specifications and standards of private branch exchange applications.
Though at the beginning it was quite difficult and unusual to change the traditional PBX switches to computer telephony integrated systems, now all PBX switches come with built-in computer telephony hooks, as well as set of necessary add-on applications to take advantage of and benefit from the connections.