Softphones are available for a variety of devices such as PCs, Laptops, and smart phones including iPhone, Blackberry, and those supporting Android. Softphones are software that run on these devices to make use of SIP compatible telephony services and systems such as IP phone systems like the 3CX Phone System. As software, the devices interact with microphones, speakers, or specifically designed telephony devices like Bluetooth headsets to connect to voice services over your IP connection, VoIP services. Though many softphones can be installed on any OS, though some softphones are built only for specific systems, like Windows.
How Softphones Work
Softphone App users connect the chosen softphone to the company voice system using their personal settings and company system information including: ip address or net address, their user name and password for the system. The user connects their preferred handset, Bluetooth headset, or other sound devices to the computer. The softphone then requires an internet connection over which it utilizes Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) or other proprietary protocols to make and receive calls. From the user end, it simply use the softphone like any other program on their laptop or chosen device.
Softphones on Smart Phones
By Federal Regulation, cellular providers must allow softphones to operate over Wi-Fi connections, data plans, and cellular data networks. A SIP based softphone runs as an App and can be installed using the smart phone’s app system. Not all softphones will be able to connect to your company phone system, for instance Skype’s App will only support Skype users and services.
Why might a company want to use Softphones
Reducing Overhead Costs
Reducing costs is a chief factor in using softphones. Company cell plans can be reduced by utilizing softphones when a Wi-Fi connection is available. A softphone on a smart phone will allow your employees to use the plans associated with your business phone system, including SIP Trunks, Skype, or other telecom services. As a result, calls will not register as using expensive cellular minutes.
Another cost factor is that softphones can be used over Wi-Fi. Companies can remove costly desk phones and physical extensions from the office. Though SIP compliant desk phones can be purchased inexpensively, this allows reduced deskspace and lower up-front infrastructure costs. Employees can always have their company phone extension with them, meaning any member of your team is a minute-free extension to extension dial no matter where they are. Not only is it a gigantic plus for salespeople and remote employees, it makes management and billing more streamlined.
Softphones and Unified Communications
Many softphones can also be setup to interact with other company systems like Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM), e-mail, chat, or video interaction. As a result, employee laptops become relative Swiss Army Knives for sales, off-site visits, or negotiations. The communications can be secure and readily available to all team members.