With the rapid advancement of VoIP technology, many businesses are transitioning across from traditional ISDN lines, to installing SIP trucks or even moving to a fully hosted cloud PBX solution. Deploying a VoIP setup will permit you access to use of a softphone, but what is a softphone, and why should you care?
What is a softphone?
Because VoIP calls are made via the internet, you can now make and take calls without the need for a handset. A softphone is just a bit of software that gives you the ability to connect to the PSTN (phone network) via your computer, tablet or smartphone without a physical phone that sits on your desk.
You may have already used a softphone without realising, such as Skype or Facetime. These softphones are built into their platforms and are usually linked to an email address, but some third-party downloadable clients require you to connect to a hosted telephone system, such as Zoiper.
Or in our case, we have built our softphone, Buzz, into nCall.
Using a softphone is easy – you can dial and answer just as you would using a desk phone, except that your dial pad and prompts are on screen.
Why and when should I use a softphone?
Softphones give you maximum portability. As long as you have an internet connection, you’ll be able to make and take calls anywhere in the World with just your laptop or smart device. This gives you the flexibility to answer calls on the go, or when working from home, without the hassle of bringing a desk phone with you, or using up minutes on your mobile plan.
However, in an office environment softphones are not often considered as replacements for desk phones, as the audio quality is not comparable to a dedicated handset.
- Softphones are readily accessible and can be set up in minutes
- Not subject to wear and tear
- Maximum portability
- Ideal for remote members of staff
- Choice of audio accessories
- Audio quality not on par with a dedicated desk phone
- If your PC/smart device fails, so does your access to calls
- Features may be limited compared to an advanced IP desk phone
- Requires stable internet connection with sufficient bandwidth
So there you have it! It is completely reasonable to deploy both soft and hard phones for your staff in the event that one or the other fails. Running a successful business is intrinsically tied to your ability to answer or make calls, so it is important to have a backup plan for every eventuality.