A softphone is a piece of software that uses the internet to make calls from a computer or smartphone. They provide the same capabilities as a deskphone such as security, reliability and a rich feature set while also ensuring mobility isn't compromised. Softphones allow calls to be made from anywhere with WiFi, ensuring users can call and message from wherever they may travel. This makes them perfect for remote working as hardware, specialized training and wiring are not required.
How do Softphones Work ?
Softphones use VoIP to make outbound calls and receive inbound calls. They can easily be downloaded from the iOS, Android and Windows Apps stores, allowing calls to be made directly from a smartphone. Softphones possess an intuitive UI and straightforward set up to allow users to make, transfer and disconnect calls from a simple interface. They are designed for ease of use and high quality communication.
Softphones are created with business communication in mind. As such, they come with an extensive feature set such as video calling, messaging, call transfer and call recording to ensure all the needs of enterprises are met. Contact integration through outlook, vcf. and csv. files is also included, providing the same functionality as a traditional deskphone. Many softphones offer a variety of audio and video codes, ensuring that call quality is the the best it can possibly be. These can be set easily within the app with the simple press of a few buttons. Calls and details are secured through protocols such as SRTP and RTP, protecting personal data. A tunneling solution can also be used, allowing connection to places where calling would normally be impossible, either because of corporate firewalls or VoIP blocking.
Why are they Used?
One of the main advantages of softphones is the massive flexibility they provide. Users are no longer restricted to their desk but are instead free to take their work and call from wherever they may go. Calls can can be made from a laptop or phone, eliminating the need for extensive wiring and cabling. This increases productivity and boosts efficiency ensuring that work can be done from anywhere with an internet connection.
- 24 Hour Deployment
Besides increased portability allowing users to work and call from the comfort of their homes, softphones avoid the restrictions of deskphones in other ways as well. Softphones are often used by businesses wishing to quickly set up and deploy VoIP phone solution as they do not require any physical equipment. This eliminates the hassle of installing and configuring a desktop phone, upgrading software and setting up cabling, routers, switches and other necessary equipment. Instead softphones can be easily downloaded from an app store with minimal user interaction. This simplifies the process extensively while also significantly reducing costs.
- Cloud Configuration
With a cloud solution, IT administrators can easily configure settings from a web portal, instead of having to manually configure each and every phone. With external provisioning, all users need to do is enter a username and password. As such they significantly reduce support queries, enhancing efficiency and productivity.
- Easy to Update
Cloud softphones are available on a monthly basis, with updates being supplied regularly and easily deployable from the cloud portal. This simplifies maintenance and support, ensuring that apps are always up to date.
Unlike with deskphones, users are already familiar with set up and use of softphone apps thanks to applications such as Phone, Hangouts. They do not require specialized training and are instead easily usable from the start.
Cloud solutions are available for businesses wishing to brand and customize their app and can be purchased on a monthly plan. This allows for easy scaling and upgrading, perfect for businesses of all sizes.
How can Softphones be used in Remote Working ?
Broadband speeds have become much faster over that past few years, with the average download speed going from 17.8 Mbps in 2014 to 54.2 Mbps in 2019. This makes good connectivity no longer an issue when using VoIP systems. Improved connectivity has lead to a shift of workers from offices to remote locations , as such, flexibility has become something that is not just useful for businesses but essential.
Recent data suggested that almost half of the US’ workforce is currently working from home. Even after the crisis over, 25-30 % of the US workforce is expected to work remotely on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021. With the shift of workers to remote working, traditional deskphones are no longer feasible. Installing and configuring them in every home is impossible, consequently softphones are the natural replacement.
Softphones therefore present an excellent solution to the problem of finding a replacement of deskphone communication. With their mobile or desktop nature, they can be used and downloaded as any other app would be on a user’s device. Softphones allow for the continuation of work from wherever a person may be, regardless of whether it’s travelling in an airport, taking calls while on a business trip or enjoying a change of scene. They're a natural progression for users seeking to adapt to a more globalized and remote way of work.
What are the Requirements?
A device with a microphone and headset such as a PC or smartphone.
Strong internet connection
Service provider account
SessionTalk is an example of a fully functional business softphone that runs on Windows, iOS and Android allowing enterprises to easily equip their workforce with a branded softphone. It provides an easy-to-use interface along with excellent call quality and a feature set designed for enterprise communication. In addition, a tunneling solution can be set up to allow the bypassing of corporate firewalls and VoIP blocking, providing a low bandwidth connection to anywhere in the world.