What is a VOIP Soft Phone?
The “soft” in “soft phone” refers to the distinction between soft-ware and hard-ware. A soft phone functions with software only, whereas a “hard phone” refers to a physical object you plug in at your desk. Due to COVID-19 more businesses have been switching to soft-phone enabled infrastructure than ever before.
Even though COVID-19 has been a catalyst for remote work, there are plenty of great reasons why soft phones will become permanent fixtures for many businesses.
Primary Advantages of Soft-Phone VoIP
Many smart-phone applications are included as part of monthly service fees (like Convergence’s Cloud VoIP plans), so soft phones are often the lowest cost option.
- Easily scalable
When you hire a new employee, you can bring them onto the system and allocate credentials within minutes. Then all they need to do is download the app, install, and be linked into business comms. Hardware must be ordered, shipped and installed, which can take days or weeks.
- Geographically flexible
Employees can easily switch between devices to send/receive calls from the office, on the road, or at client location – all without additional hardware requirements.
- Remote Work Friendly
The scalability and geographic freedom of soft phones make them ideal for distributed workplaces.
- Feature rich
Hard phones can get old and require replacement every decade or so. And they can require maintenance. But soft-phone applications are delivered via cloud, which means vendors can update them easily and continuously to provide leading service quality over the long haul.
- No need for planning?
We threw this bullet point in here because we want to emphasize the importance of planning out your soft-phone infrastructure with the same focus you would bring to a large upfront expenditure. Freedom does not mean less planning; it often requires more. Anyone who has camped overnight in the mountains will tell you that. This is certainly the case when implementing a soft-phone communications infrastructure.
Understanding What a Soft Phone Is Not Is the Key to Your Infrastructure Planning
Freedom does not mean less planning; it often requires more. Anyone who has camped overnight in the mountains will tell you that.
Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) sends and receives your voice and video data over the Internet, which is why soft phones could not exist without VoIP. A soft phone provides the software that handles all the communications, but to work it relies on external hardware.
Professional audio input/output
If you’re on your smartphone, then input/output makes little difference. However, many employees need more robust solutions than their phone. PC-installed soft phones typically require a headset as well.
You might consider:
- Assigning audio hardware based on role or request.
- Creating a BYO Headset policy for employees who prefer their own solutions
- Other ways to ensure your business always communicates professionally despite variety of communications hardware.
The other consideration is data. Although at most times home offices will receive high-quality voice, there are some considerations for connectivity. When employees responded to COVID-19 in March 2020, for the most part service level remained high. However, there were some hiccoughs over residential network usage spiked.
That is because residential Internet services are not allocated with a 100% guarantee of bandwidth, like many business-class Internet services are. As Internet providers adopted to traffic spikes the functionality has streamlined, so this is not something that most businesses will need to worry about. However, some roles might require the guaranteed call quality.
Router: Wi-Fi Security and Bandwidth
More often than network bandwidth, when VoIP phones have an issue with call quality it is due to the router. Many Wi-Fi routers are not designed to manage 5+ device homes. More importantly, many routers do not reach business-class security.
For these reasons it is important that your VoIP company be willing to help you think through these issues and provide objective, experience-driven solutions crossing people, connectivity, and hardware.
Call Convergence for Cloud VoIP and Soft Phone — Competitive Rates, Incredible Service
At Convergence Solutions, we guide companies through the convergence of communications systems — of voice, video and data networks, and also of personal and work lives — to provide more efficient and enriching ways of doing business. Incorporated in 2005, our work has focused on upgrading businesses and office spaces with modern telephony, Internet connectivity, and security.
We would be happy to help you plan and install your soft-phone VoIP system.
I can’t say enough good things about Convergence! Steve, Paul, Laura and the entire Convergence Solutions team make every effort to be friendly and helpful while taking care of our needs. They are knowledgeable, patient, and kind. The initial set up and implementation of our phone system several years ago was flawless, and they have continued to update and maintain as needed. We’ve had our voice mail go down on a weekend, and they are always accessible. I was leaving to go out of town recently and emailed a last minute change order. I wasn’t clear with my request, and Paul tracked me down on my cell phone to clarify the instructions so he could put the change in place that day. We are truly thankful to all of them!
Why Convergence Cloud
The telecom industry is moving too slowly. Why nickle-and-dime you over minutes when it’s all just data?
Convergence Cloud delivers unlimited local or long-distance minutes. Every one of our plans are inclusive with no additional items costs.
Friendly Customer Support Based in Denver
As a Denver business, we are in the neighborhood to support you as much or as little as you need. If VoIP is new to you, our service representatives can take you through the process, so you know your communications will go uninterrupted.