Business on the go – more on remote teamworking

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 upon businesses looks set to have lasting consequences, not the least of which has been the necessity (the fabled mother of invention) for devising novel methods of remote working. In these extraordinary conditions, remote working has been the key to survival – a key that has required teams, clients, managers and stakeholders to remain in easy communication with one another through communications technology.

Here, we’ll explore the rise and utility of the softphone in this new age of pervasive business telecommunication. This is why it’s the future of business communications.

 

Just what is a softphone?

To the incorrigibly tech-resistant, talk of softphones may evoke images of receiver-shaped cuddly toys or Play-Doh sculptures, but the reality is that they’re ‘device-agnostic’ communication apps, meaning that you can download the software for them and use any internet-connected communications device, from smartphones to tablets and laptops.

Softphones, or ‘software phones’, allow all workers, whether they’re ‘locked down’ at home or on the go at a site or an event, to make instant voice contact via VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology rather than conventional landlines. They turn smartphones and desk-bound computers into efficient, business-level communication tools, doubling up as office phones. Dialling is as easy as a click of the mouse or a tap of the fingertip.

 

What are the advantages?

 

Wireless freedom

No wires and no clunky hardware means maximum portability. Softphones rely instead on wireless data transfer networks and ingenious software for easy ‘telecontact’ whether you’re in the office, walking along a corridor, on your favourite armchair at home, or halfway round the London Eye. All you need is the softphone app downloaded onto your smartphone or laptop and you’re ready to go. Why go to the expense of migrating to a new phone system with all that additional hardware when all you need are existing connected devices, existing servers and an app?

Economic packages

Unlike landline tariffs, softphone contracts are flexible. You won’t be charged by the minute or by the distance of the call, but by the bandwidth used by the VoIP communication tech. This is highly likely to be pleasingly low, slashing the cost of business calls.

Easy data access and transfer

With softphones, incoming calls can automatically open Salesforce so that the other party’s information is instantly visible as you speak. No more Post-it Notes and manual entry of numbers. Copy and paste is about as arduous as it gets, and some softphones are fully automated.

Future-proofed tech

All hardware eventually goes the way of all physical objects: it wears out. However, the software-enabling smartphones can be continually updated and upgraded as technological innovation permits.

Mixed technology

Just because you’re investing in softphones doesn’t mean that you need to ditch your existing communications equipment. Using Hosted PBX solutions, softphones can be easily integrated with existing business equipment and distributed across a range of platforms. Just mix and match as you see fit. Softphones, as we noted above in relation to Salesforce, can even be integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Easy videoconferencing

Softphones will let you host multi-party videoconferences for easy team or even business-wide meetings, even when the individual participants are miles apart from one another. Many of the better softphone service providers will allow you to share your screen to facilitate easy coordination with remote staff.

The cons

The quality of your softphone tech is dependent on your network and network connections. This means that if your office Wi-Fi is a tad on the intermittent end of the spectrum (Wi-Fi is notoriously compromised by distance and physical obstacles), your VoIP tech will suffer.

In other words, softphones work best when there’s a reliable network to hook them up to.

 

A tip from EuroNetwork

Especially if you’re using a softphone via a desktop computer, we would suggest that you ensure the stability of your internet connection by using an Ethernet cable. Yes, this counts as hardware, but it’s significantly more reliable in its data transmission than Wi-Fi. EuroNetwork manufactures tailor-made Ethernet cables (Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a) for optimal reliability and fast signal delivery

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