The last Blueface ICT Research Report predicted that businesses of all sizes will embrace user device diversity – with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon driving the change.
59.9% of respondents of our survey permitted employees to bring their own devices for use in a workplace. This figure continues to grow and the softphone is one of those useful tools which can enable or assist in the BYOD era.
So what is a softphone and is it right for your business?
The name softphone is short for ‘software telephone’ – an application which allows telephone calls to be made with a computer. Obviously, the computer requires a network connection to facilitate calls. This is slightly different to Skype to Skype calls, or Facetime where the call is between users – known as peer to peer calling. With a softphone, calls can be made to traditional telephone numbers just like a deskphone.
It’s important to note that a computer can be a mobile phone or a tablet. In fact, Android has the capability built-in already and enabling VoIP calls is relatively straightforward.
As VoIP technology proliferates, and as users seek mobility and convenience, we are often asked about softphones and whether they are the right solution for a given situation – often as a replacement or as an addition to the standard office phone handset.
How does it work?
A softphone installs and runs from your computer. Many are totally free, or employ a freemium model. In principle, softphones can be installed on any computer with Internet access and there is usually a softphone for every type of Operating System.
The softphone is accessible wherever you have a computer with you, once you have a working internet connection.
It enables calls to be made from the computer, just like a standard deskphone.
VoIP softphones are only a program on the computer, so a headset with a microphone or an internal microphone and speakers are also needed to make the calls – unless you’re using it on a mobile phone in which case it works just like your mobile.
Headsets are the best option for a computer and prices start at a very affordable €5-€10 for a standard configuration and can range up to €100-€200 for a high-quality wireless headset with a long battery life and interchangeable ear pieces.
Is a VoIP Softphone for you?
The Softphone is portable – it travels with your laptop, or indeed your mobile phone. It is designed to be intuitive to use and most resemble an actual phone handset. There are usually options to import contacts, place calls on hold, and many of the other business class features you’d expect.
VoIP beginners, remote workers, call centre employees, startup businesses and frequent travellers are typical users.
So, if your company employs remote agents, or has a primarily mobile workforce, softphones might be the ideal choice.
VoIP Softphone Features
From a business perspective, it is important to know that most softphones offer the same features that traditional phones offer and often, more:
- Call forwarding
- Call conferencing
- Hold capabilities
- Call transferring
- Greeting capabilities
- Text, IM, and video capabilities
- Echo cancellation to improve sound quality
- Contact list/address book
Watch this video to discover how a softphone works:
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