Smartphones have become inescapable. According to IDC, there were more than 430 million of them shipped just in Q4 2017. The overall proliferation of wireless devices has resulted in mobile users accounting for a majority of all internet connections worldwide.

While consumer tech has moved rapidly, enterprises haven’t uniformly kept pace. Many still rely on a legacy private branch exchange (PBX) designed and implemented during the heyday of the deskphone. Such phone systems are costly to maintain and relatively limited in their feature sets.

For example, adding new lines is often a hassle, while integrating with other communications tools is also difficult. Organizations have explored unified communications (UC) platforms as more flexible alternatives combining voice (via VoIP), video, messaging and much more into a single solution. UC suites also offer the benefits of softphone clients.

Softphones explained: Why they make a difference in everyday communications

A softphone is any device that can make and receive phone calls without being a dedicated phone itself. Examples include desktops, laptops and tablets. The “soft” in the name refers to the software enabling these devices to behave like standard deskphones.

“A softphone can make and receive calls without being a dedicated phone.”

Softphones are highly flexible, making them essential components of UC. They can:

1. Support concurrent services alongside voice

With a softphone like the Teo Softphone, it’s possible to enhance a call with apps such as screen sharing. This feature does not require any plugins or additional installations and it’s fully compatible with smartphone and tablets in addition to PCs/Macs. The only requirement for anyone wanting to view your screen is an HTML5-compatible mobile or desktop browser.

Softphones can also be configured to work with voicemail, instant messaging and videoconferencing tools, all of which are important parts of modern UC platforms. The upshot is a single interface for multiple applications, which is good new for workers looking for workflows that don’t require navigating a ton of different systems.

A laptop can serve as a softphone.A laptop can serve as a softphone.

2. Ensure you never miss a call, message or conference

Leaving your desk once meant having your calls sent straight to voicemail or requiring any callers to reach you at a different number. Softphones provide a lot more flexibility. If you’re out and about, you might have the option to just send all of your office calls to your other devices.

At the same time, you can make calls from a softphone and have them appear on the recipient’s caller ID as originating from your office phone. Callbacks can also be routed to a deskphone if necessary, so that all your communications with the outside world can seem as consistent and professional as possible, even as you move between devices behind the scenes. This is a pivotal advanage for smaller organizations in particular, since they may have limited resources to spend on traditional PBXes.

3. Free up room in your IT budget

There are still instances in which having a dedicated IP phone with sophisticated handling features makes sense. In other situations, relying on a softphone instead can help you save money by utilizing something you already have. Plus, softphones make their calls over IP networks, which is much more cost-effective for long distance than telephone lines.

IT budgets vary widely between organizations, not only in their sizes but also in growth rates and priorities, too. Despite this variance, softphones can ensure IT departments at companies of all stripes can get optimal value for every dollar spent. They also fit right into the major trends in modern IT spending, namely the shifts to hosted and cloud-based services.

According to a Spiceworks survey, these solutions are expected to account for more than one-fifth of typical 2018 IT budgets – not too far behind the share for software, although still well behind hardware expenditures. UC solutions may be deployed on-prem, in the cloud or in hybrid setups. By enabling telephony from virtually any device, softphones supplement the general flexibility and mobility advantages of UC while helping you save on phone-related expenses.

Teo Technologies offers a comprehensive UC platform with integrated voice, video, messaging and softphone functionality. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can set up the right solution for you.

By NO Comment March 6, 2018