Although it’s impossible to tell which enterprise-grade feature of cloud phone systems is the most useful, we can all agree that softphones are definitely one of the main strengths of internet-based telephony.
And since softphones are making desk phones – or ‘hard phones’ if you will – obsolete many people consider keeping these old devices around a complete waste of time and space.
However, the situation is not always as black as white as you might think, as a matter of fact there are very good reasons why desk phones could still be an integral part of virtual phone systems.
Why Softphones Are a Mixed Bag
As already mentioned, one of the best things about softphones is that they can reduce the amount of hardware present in your office down to zero thanks to being a worthy alternative to desk phones. And since we are talking about a desktop and a mobile application, it’s safe to assume that basically any device capable of connecting to the internet can be turned into a softphone and, therefore, considered a virtual part of your office environment. And since many VoIP services have designated mobile applications with softphone function, using a softphone is a great asset to allow the handling of both personal and business-related calls on the same device while still keeping them separated at the same time.
Despite their convenience, however, softphones are far from perfect substitutes for desk phones. Most of the time they only exist in mobile app form, since cloud phone providers rarely create a version that is also compatible with computers – with the few exceptions being companies like RingCentral, Grasshopper or MightyCall. Admittedly, there is always the option to use third party softphones, but in this case the program has to be configured to work with your phone network, which can be quite the task even for IT experts. And even if the softphone is correctly configured there may still be some compatibility issues that could hinder the complete abandonment of desk phones altogether.
The Top Reasons to Keep Hard Phones
Although switching to softphones is indeed the best possible option in many cases, it’s still highly recommended to take a step back and examine what’s best for you. Because there are many instances where you can enjoy all the benefits of softphones while still keeping onto the desk phones that are now compatible with the new system.
When Phones Are Already VoIP-Compatible
One of the biggest reasons for businesses to say goodbye to their old hardware is that they don’t want to waste money on their old phones when equipping them with an analog phone adapter in a misguided effort to ensure those devices are compatible with the new internet-based system.
However, if all or most devices in your office are IP or SIP phones, then ditching them is an unnecessary mistake; all that is required is a bit of a configuration and those hard phones will once again become an integral part of your new cloud phone system in mere minutes. Not to mention that modern desk phones already provide many VoIP-related call handling features by default.
When It’s Worth Upgrading
We admit that making all your hard phones compatible with VoIP can be quite an expense, however, if the necessary funds are present there is no reason not to purchase new phones or adapters. Once that’s out of the way, the only thing that will need to be done every time a different VoIP service provider enters the picture is the configuration of the phones.
Speaking of which, most internet telephony companies are well-prepared for users bringing in old hardware with them, which is proven by all those informative instructions that explain how to configure phones the right way. And if that’s not enough, certain companies like Phone.com or Nextiva have preconfigured phones that only need to be connected to the network in order to be ready for use.
When Reliability and Comfort Is Important
Although desk phone technology is over a century-old, there is a very good reason why many homes and businesses still rely heavily on it. Not only is it easy to operate even by less tech-savvy users, but it’s also extremely reliable and comfortable to use.
Not only that but desk phones exist in a variety of forms, whether that is a regular device, a cordless model or one that is intended for voice-only conferences. Everyone can find a desk phone to suit their tastes and needs, even with VoIP-ready versions.
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