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What Exactly Is A Softphone?

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If you’re thinking about how to implement a modern communications system for your business, you’ve probably encountered a range of different services and products that take advantage of Internet technology. One of those tools is a softphone, which is simply a software program that allows you to make calls over the Internet with your computer using Voice over IP technology (VoIP).

Softphones are becoming a popular choice for businesses, since they make it easy to manage calls and faxes from a computer. Although anyone with a computer can use a softphone, those who travel frequently, frequent long-distance callers, and telecommuters can particularly benefit from some of the features. VoIP beginners are also good candidates for softphones; it’s easy to download VoIP software and make free computer-to-computer or computer-to-phone calls.

Softphones may include a headset or hand-held handset, and users dial from the keyboard. Sometimes softphones also work with an analog telephone adaptor that lets users make VoIP calls from a standard telephone handset. Popular softphone services include Skype and Google Hangouts, although many communications companies offer their own softphone services.

Softphone system feature benefits often include:

  • The ability to screen calls, either with an auto-receptionist, or by displaying the name and number of the caller.
  • Call routing that can send calls to voicemail, or transfer live calls to another phone.
  • Interrupting messages as they’re being recorded to take calls
  • Call recording and downloading of recorded calls.
  • Integration with software like Microsoft Outlook
  • Faxing capability that lets you sign, send, and receive faxes.

Most softphone systems require a PC or Mac with a current operating system. Users simply have to install the software of whatever system they’ve chose to use, and are then able to begin making calls.