The methods we use to communicate are always evolving. VoIP products and services have already replaced traditional analog phones throughout most of the world. And with mass VoIP adoption already occurring throughout North America, softphones too have grown in popularity as a tool that can modify and customize your VoIP experience.
Companies today rely on communications platforms that are consistent, reliable, and customizable. Whether you need advanced conferencing features, voicemail, or something else, softphones are highly customizable. Any modern business, big or small, can benefit from a relatively new technology known as the softphone.
What Is a Softphone?
Do you have a standard telephone sitting on your work desk? If you could remove that bulky device entirely and incorporate it into your computer or even smartphone, would you?
Now that 70% of global individuals work remotely at least once a week, there has been a huge push for softphone technology to replace traditional desktop telephones.
In a nutshell, softphones are software applications for computers and mobile devices that fulfill the functionality of a telephone by transmitting voice data or messages over the Internet rather than through telephone wires.
You’ve probably heard of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) providers such as Skype or Slack, which are the most prominent examples of softphones used by both businesses and individuals.
Whether through proprietary solutions or free online downloads, softphones add flexibility and mobility to the office, allowing employees to stay connected no matter where they are.
What Features Do Softphone Services Offer?
In addition to giving the same features traditional telephones offer (such as dial pad, muting calls, transferring calls, and managing contacts), softphones can also perform tasks like:
- Video conferencing
- SMS messaging
- Do not disturb
- Call rerouting
- Speed dial
- Enhanced voicemail navigation
- Compatibility with a variety of devices, operating systems, and web browsers
What Are the Benefits of Softphones Over Traditional Landlines?
There’s a reason why VoIP softphones are commonly referred to as “the future of business communication.” When compared to conventional business communication, softphones have several key advantages that account for their increasing adoption rates by the corporate sector.
The most significant advantage is cost. Depending on how much your business currently spends on communications, the prices of hardware, installation, support, and maintenance for traditional phones adds up.
Thankfully, the switch to softphones will likely result in lower monthly rates and reduced international calling charges.
Nearly everybody young and old is carrying a smartphone nowadays, and any smartphone can run a softphone app. Never miss an urgent call again as long as your laptop or phone is on you.
For work, that means taking business tasks on the go. Work from home or on business trips easily with a trusty softphone by your side. Make and answer calls from the office, a hotel room, at home, or even a coffee shop.
Because softphones deliver information over the Internet, you can keep your personal phone number private and avoid using up your cell phone minutes.
As mentioned, softphone providers often include a variety of user experience enhancement features that traditional phones don’t have access to. For instance, you could benefit from a visual voicemail system, caller ID notifications, video conferencing support, and more.
All these features are available at a low cost and without extra equipment or infrastructure. A single softphone service can support multiple individuals cheaply.
Because it’s built into your computer or phone, a softphone removes the need for extra cables or hardware on your desk. A cleaner workstation not only looks better but also increases productivity.
And that’s not even mentioning how a unified communication system for the company looks professional and streamlines internal communication.
Not weighed down by old infrastructure, softphones can be scaled more easily. That is, new users and features can be added and removed inexpensively.
For example, why not go for some future proofing? Maybe invest in 5G mobile data connections once they become available for the incredible speed boost over 4G?
Who Tends to Use Softphones?
You might know someone who has used the VoIP features of Facebook and Skype for keeping in touch with friends and family. On top of these personal uses, softphone technology is also mainly seeing use in B2B purposes.
That’s because no matter what size, all companies seek improved productivity and efficiency in employee and client communication. Some examples of use cases for softphones include:
- Staff that travel often
- Call centers
- Long-distance callers
- Businesses with multiple locations in different countries
Before softphones, many of these companies have difficulty coordinating all locations’ differing communication systems. The reduced complexity of softphone technology has proven invaluable for many businesses.
Plus, some companies that deal with tight deadlines or overlapping schedules often find the call rerouting feature useful. If a potential client makes contact at an unexpected time, a VoIP system can route him to the right department more quickly than through a traditional line.
What Are SIP Softphone Services?
When dealing with VoIP and softphones, you’ll often hear the term “SIP.” SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. It’s used in VoIP systems where users can make voice and video calls free of charge.
SIP is excellent for cutting down costs since the service is free and worldwide, unrestricted by national boundaries, laws, or surcharges.
SIP softphones can be installed by setting up a SIP address, downloading a SIP client on your device, and configuring a few simple settings.
Not all providers use SIP, however. Skype is a popular solution which uses its own P2P architecture as an alternative.
What Are the Caveats?
Despite these huge advantages, there are some limitations to softphone service.
- Compatibility. Whether it’s new operating system updates or new hardware, softphones need to be compatible with the technology around them to work correctly.
- Supported features in your VoIP phone system might not match up with your softphone service.
- Internet Access. Not all areas have reliable Internet access or mobile data connections that softphones rely on. Plus, they compete with your other services such as file transfers and emails for bandwidth.
Most businesses have widely adopted VoIP and softphone systems because of their reliability, affordability, and enhanced functionality.
Should Your Company Make the Switch Then?
The choice ultimately comes down to your company’s needs, budget, and business model. Keep in mind that softphones are the future of business communication, and you don’t want to be left in the dust by the competition.
So, if you’re looking for a softphone service provider, remember that an excellent company offers you useful features and customizability. Its solution should be competitively priced and come with updates and support. Here at Cloud Softphone, we’ve worked with several large, publicly-traded enterprises and know our way around cost-effective softphone solutions.