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How Softphones Change Business Communications
April 14th, 2017

How Softphones Change Business Communications

Virginia Fair

If you’ve ever felt like you wanted to just chuck that space hog of a desk phone into the garbage? It may be time to change your business communications.

If you’ve ever felt like you wanted to just chuck that space hog of a desk phone into the garbage? Then you might want to look into a softphone.These phones change business communications in multiple ways and space is only one of them.

Never heard of softphones or soft clients, as they’re also called? What we’re talking about is an application program that installs to and runs on any computer. This enables Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone calls, thus doing away with the need for dedicated hardware.

Since VoIP softphones run on your computer, you will need a headset and microphone to make and receive calls. If you prefer an actual phone, you can use specialized VoIP phones or traditional desk phones equipped with analog telephone adapters.

Softphones are especially suited to companies who allow their employees to work from home. As well as businesses who have a workforce that regularly visits remote locations or service clients.  But since this brings us to the 800-lb gorilla in the room, let’s address it before going any further.

Why Bother with softphones when everyone has smartphones?

Collaboration

VoIP phones supply a collaborative link between your workers and the home office as well as a tangible link to clients and customers. When using a softphone remotely, employees have access to the same features avail available to them in the office so they can take part in video conference calls; forward their calls as well as receive any forwarded to them; listen to their voice mail, and enable automated greetings. Any customers getting in touch with them will have no way of knowing they are not in the office.

Cost effectiveness

Whether a worker makes a computer-to-computer call or a computer-to-phone one, it’s free so those who are frequently on the road can avoid incurring heavy cell phone charges. Although international rates apply they are much cheaper when made over VoIP.

The best of both worlds

Having said all this, let’s harken back to the fact that today’s smartphones are actually computers. Since VoIP calls can be made on any computer, softphones can interface with tablets and smartphones, as well as desktops and laptops, giving you the best of both worlds.

The parts of a softphone

Although a softphone is a software, we can break it down into four basic parts.

  • Interface: serves as a platform for communication between the user and the computer. Depending on the program, it can include a dial pad and keyboard as well as control buttons to manage calls and presence, and work with the device’s audio input and output.
  • Engine: processes calls and enables API communication modules to permit calls according to protocols.
  • Set of codecs: serves two purposes, to encode voice data as it converts from the analog format to the digital; and to compress it so it can travel more easily across the internet.
  • Contact List: to help users keep track of phone numbers and manage correspondence.

The evolution of softphones

While the earliest softphones replicated traditional phones on the screen, today’s applications incorporate into the communication app’s interface. Those designed for businesses have bulkier interfaces since they provide so many features, while those meant for smartphones tend to have simpler interfaces requiring only one or two touches to make or receive a call.

As to which softphone is best for your company, there are many different applications and products so it requires careful research and consideration, but once you decide you’ll wonder why it took you so long to leave your traditional phone system behind.


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