VoIP hardphones or softphones for SMBs?

Your company has decided to avail of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and has given you the task of choosing between the two types of phones: traditional desk phones (hardphones) or software-based phones (softphones). To help you decide, we’ll break down the benefits of each type.

What’s a hardphone?
A hardphone is a desk phone that is connected to your business’s IP network, just like a normal phone. There’s no learning curve associated with VoIP hardphones, and they allow your staff to call anyone worldwide at a more affordable price. The more advanced hardphones have built-in video displays and touch screens to accommodate video calls, eliminating the need for separate equipment for video conferencing.

What’s a softphone?
A softphone is any electronic device that uses a software program that allows users to turn their PCs, laptops, and tablets into high-tech phones to make and receive local and international calls. Softphones let you dial a number on your computer or mobile device and speak through its embedded speakers and microphone, or through a headset with a microphone, so you can make and take calls wherever you are.

Which type is ideal for you?
There are some things to consider when you’re choosing between hardphones and softphones:

Are your employees always moving around?
Do they require 24/7 connectivity?
Does your company rely on having top-notch customer service?
What’s your IT budget?

Your answers to these questions will determine the type of equipment you need.

Why choose hardphones?
Nothing beats the voice clarity and noise cancellation features of hardphones since they are solely dedicated to calling unlike softphones, which share power with other programs on your PC. This also means that you can make and take calls without being disrupted by poor PC performance or a virus.

Though the initial setup costs are greater due to the purchase of actual phones, the monthly phone bills for hardphones are much cheaper. Not only that, softphones may be more costly in the long run, as they require separate headphones and microphones that may need to be replaced or maintained frequently.

Why choose softphones?
If your company requires a mobile workforce, adopting a softphone solution may be better. Softphones feature call routing, which allows calls to be diverted to one or several specified internet-enabled devices, ensuring your clients have 24/7 access to your employees. This is most effective especially in a contact center environment. Other features like transcribed voicemail messages also enable you to receive messages promptly, no matter whether you’re in a meeting or on the road.

Our experts are available 24/7/365 to advise you on any questions you may have pertaining to VoIP, and especially about whether hardphones or softphones are best for you. If you’re interested in upgrading your telephony infrastructure, give us a call today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.