VoIP technology lets voice calls travel over the internet, rather than an analog (POTS) line. Businesses now can determine what kind of phone suits them best, ultimately pitting hard phone vs. soft phone for their offices. Here’s a few features you want to consider when determining which is best for your organization.
Hard Phone vs. Soft Phone – What’s the Difference?
In a VoIP environment, both a hard phone and a soft phone uses software to convert the sound energy into digital information, and transmitting that data through to the internet where it can connect to the person with whom you are on a call with. A “Hard” phone is what you would think of as a phone, you have a box sitting on the desk, you can pick up the handset and dial numbers. It looks a lot like a phone you would have picked up twenty years ago, although it may have a small video screen and additional features not available back then. A “Soft” phone uses software on your computer or device to make calls, not needing a physical handset.
Hard Phone Features
It Seems Familiar.
While every technology change you make has a learning curve, folks who have used a physical phone all their lives will feel most comfortable with a phone they pick up and push buttons on. It’s easy to use and won’t hold back your employees who are averse to big changes.
It is Reliable.
Your hard phone connects right to your router with an ethernet cable, so as long as you have reliable internet, you should be in business. While a computer may be out of commission at times, your hard phone should see little downtime. It’s always connected to the network, even when the computer might be shut down or offline.
You Get HD Voice.
Hard phones allow for consistent, high-quality HD phone service. Therefore, you get crystal-clear audio, and eliminates the need for saying “T as in Tom”, etc.
When to Purchase a Hard Phone
If most of your business is conducted within the office and you want a consistently good experience without a lot of bells and whistles, a hard phone might win the “Hard Phone vs. Soft Phone” debate.
Soft Phone Features
There is Less Equipment to Buy.
Your computer is already connected to the internet and has digital audio capabilities. It is usually a good idea to get a handsfree headset, but a soft phone is typically the most inexpensive option.
Your Contacts are Very Accessible.
Since you probably would’ve looked up your contact’s phone number on the computer anyway, this eliminates having to physically dial. Of course, if you like dialing, you could use the virtual number pad like you would a calculator app.
You Can Use Your Smartphone as a Soft Phone.
Most VoIP carriers have apps so you can take your phone line with you. The app knows what user that smartphone is associated with, so no one needs to know you’re conducting business from the coffee place this afternoon (though the sound of the cappuccino machine might give it away.)
When to Go for Soft Phones
If you want the most bang for the buck, using hardware you already have, plus even more features than a hard phone, soft phones may fit the bill for you.
Making the Choice
When considering hard phones vs. soft phones, you may just decide it’s worth using both. You can do a majority of your in-office calling from your hard phone and keep the flexibility of soft phone features. You can still take your calls on the road, and as far as anyone knows, you are conducting business like you always have, at your desk. Really the choice is yours, both are good options, and it comes down to how much you want to spend, and how you like to work. Happy phone shopping!
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