Voice over IP technology has arrived in the world of telecommunications at a business level to stay and advance more and more, which is why more and more people are wondering what a softphone is and how it works, in addition to all its advantages.
What Is A Softphone?
A softphone, as its name suggests, software + phone, is software based on Voice over IP or VoIP technology that makes it easy to make and receive calls with a web application or an app, so a traditional desk phone is not necessary. It is a computer program or smartphone app that allows you to make calls from the Internet.
Softphones have all the features of a traditional landline telephone, but many advantages save time and money. They are characterized by their great flexibility when configuring them and making adjustments.
Depending on the option or solution chosen, this software can work completely in the cloud, allowing accessibility for the user from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. For all these reasons, it makes it easier for a company to work remotely or telecommute much more efficiently, quickly, and easily with cloud-based desktop and mobile calling applications.
The most important functions that characterize and make this application so advantageous are the following:
- It is a program or app that allows you to use your landline or traditional telephone from your mobile, tablet, computer, or laptop.
- Through the softphones, you can make calls and answer from the same as the landline.
- There are softphones for all mobile phones and operating systems: iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone. And they are available for Mac, Windows, and Linux computers.
- The vast majority use the SIP protocol, compatible with almost all VoIP operators since all SIP softphones work with IP telephony.
Types of Softphones
Many implementations and solutions can be included in the softphone category, both for Windows and Mac computers and smartphones, whether Android or iOS.
The evolution of the softphone is the execution in the cloud. An application that we have installed on a web page allows customers to contact the company without having an application installed. For example, the Skype application implements a softphone for personal use, but the service is somewhat different from those for business use and to work with virtual switchboards.
We can generally speak of two main types of softphones: applications for personal use and those with a more professional focus.
Softphone For Personal Use
In this categorization, those of the Skype type would go, but also all those that allow users to connect, such as WhatsApp calls, or those that would enable calling phone numbers without installing the app.
Softphone For Professional Use
Professional softphones are especially suitable for the second function that allows you to make calls to numbers that do not have the app installed and take advantage of virtual switchboards’ functionalities in companies.
It is total virtualization and digitization of the call system, making it possible to take the extension or landline of the office on the computer or the mobile to any place without limits, facilitating efficient call management and remote work at all times.
Another fundamental characteristic that makes professional softphones stand out is that they can be integrated with their systems through their APIs. In this way, it would not be necessary to have the telephony application installed since all its functionalities can be added to the company’s CRM.
This type of phone software allows you to collect statistical and analytical information. In this way, it is possible to control details of the calls made and received measures and optimize the performance of the company’s communications.
Operation Of VoIP Softphones
Treating the subject in a purely technical way, VoIP telephone systems send voice data using the same protocols and routes as email, that is, through the Internet connection. The data is divided into segments and converted into binary code using hardware known as a codec.
But in a more digestible functional way for the reader, we can say that what makes a softphone accessible to landlines is that even if it is a web application, it can be linked to a real phone number, even with its code—home location.
Switching from a traditional to a softphone-based system is easy, especially with the cloud solution.
No hardware is needed to adapt to the system since the cloud switchboards work on the browser or a downloadable desktop or mobile application.
We can describe the operation of a softphone in a very simple way:
- The softphone is configured with the virtual line or extension data provided by the VoIP operator.
- Once the previous process has been carried out, it connects through the Internet to take a telephone line.
- The line is obtained as soon as it is connected, and calls can be made and received through the softphone.
- If someone calls the virtual landline, they receive the call on the softphone, and if someone calls from said softphone, the person receiving the call detects a virtual landline number.
What Is Necessary To Use a Softphone
To use a softphone, three things are mainly necessary:
Softphones work with IP telephony, so it is essential to have an Internet connection, either by WiFi, 4G, ADSL, or another type of connection.
It is necessary to have a VoIP operator that provides the telephone line and a telephone number.
To have the functionalities that this VoIP software offers you, it is necessary to have the corresponding app installed on the Smartphone, an iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone. You can also sip softphones from your computer, laptop, or tablet.
Advantages Of Cloud-Based Softphones
Cloud-based solutions are always much more flexible and functional as they are not location-dependent. For example, workers who have a virtual switchboard in their company can work from home without any problem and with full accessibility if they have a good internet connection.
Without a doubt, the cloud has brought about a revolution in remote work and telecommuting, making it easier for many companies to save on general costs.
We must not also forget the great advantages offered by integrations between CRM tools with this system.
Advantages of Using a VoIP Softphone
The main advantages of using a softphone, compared to an IP phone, are savings and mobility:
- The savings are clear since many free softphones for smartphones or computers allow you to avoid the initial cost of buying an IP phone or an IP adapter, in addition to the monthly savings that it implies since VoIP telephony rates are always better.
- Mobility: having a softphone on your mobile lets you take your office landline or extension anywhere without limits.
If you are out of the office, install a softphone on your smartphone. If they call the fixed extension, they answer with the mobile. This allows calls to cost the same wherever you are located