Choosing the right SIP client for business VoIP can be a daunting task. To begin with, what do all these abbreviations even mean? And which is the right Android, iPhone or desktop SIP client for you?
Even if you know what VoIP and SIP stand for—Voice Over Internet Protocol and Session Initiation Protocol, respectively—that doesn’t clarify what these technologies can do for you.
Luckily, SIP and VoIP clients are much simpler than they may seem. We’re here to help you understand the differences and pick the best app for your Android device or iPhone. This buyer’s guide will cover the basics that will help you get started in the market.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
SIP clients are software applications built to run on mobile devices with internet connections. These apps facilitate over-the-top (OTT) communications, that is, communication channels that cut service providers out of the picture. Mobile VoIP apps allow you to send voice calls and SMS messages over a Wi-Fi connection.
SIP clients are examples of what is known as unified communications (UC) clients. Unlike simple VoIP softphones, which strictly allow you to make and receive calls over the internet, UC clients include expanded capabilities, such as voicemail, SMS and instant messaging, video conferencing and call settings.
SIP clients often include the following core capabilities:
|Voice calling||Make and receive calls through your internet connection.|
|Video calling and conferencing||Place and receive video calls on devices with cameras. Some apps allow for video conferencing with multiple users.|
|Call history||Track incoming and outgoing calls.|
|Voicemail||Let callers leave voice messages when you’re not available, listen to voice messages, return calls and check voicemail left on one device from another.|
|Call settings||Use remote control over call settings, route calls from office phones to mobile phones and login to accounts remotely.|
|SMS text messages||Send and receive short message service (SMS) texts over internet connections.|
To help you determine which SIP client is right for you, let’s take a look at a few popular products.
Ringio. Call center software solution Ringio offers a VoIP mobile app for both Android and iOS devices. This app lets users sync contacts, set up and check voicemail and make calls on their mobile devices from their business numbers.
Call history in Ringio (Source: itunes.apple.com)
CSipSimple. CSipSimple is a SIP-based application designed specifically for Android phones. Users of this application can make free calls over Wi-Fi connections.
One of CSipSimple’s most attractive features is that it is free, open-source software.
CSipSimple’s user interface
Zoiper. SIP client Zoiper offers voice and video calling, video conferencing, call recording, call transfer and an auto-answering feature. It has native mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices. Zoiper also provides an on-premise deployment for Windows, Mac and Linux systems.
Make calls in Zoiper (Source: itunes.apple.com)
Here are some benefits to consider when looking for the right SIP client:
Reduced cost and hardware requirements. Some users forego traditional office phone systems in favor of conducting all their business communications through SIP clients. This means you can save money right off the bat by not investing in extra hardware.
Easy integration with existing software. Many SIP clients can integrate with your existing software. For example, Zoiper can aggregate your contacts from Outlook as well as Android and iOS devices. Many of these apps also offer integration with customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as Thunderbird and Zoho CRM.
Over-the-top communications. We briefly discussed OTT communications earlier in this guide. Using OTT communication technologies, such as SIP clients, means you’re cutting out traditional service providers completely. You can make free calls and send SMS texts over public Wi-Fi with these apps.
Bring your own device (BYOD): As more and more businesses adopt a remote workforce, the concept of BYOD is gaining popularity in the market. BYOD refers to a set of policies that allow users to install business apps and access business data on their personal devices, such as smartphones, tablets and desktops. This allows users to cut down on significant costs in hardware purchase and work securely in mobile locations.
SIP clients allow users to implement BYOD in their business communication processes. With SIP, users can install VoIP calling apps on their Android and iOS devices to securely manage emails, messages and voice calls.
Multi-channel communication: Instead of having disparate systems for managing different communication channels, such as voice calls, messages and emails, businesses are adopting multi-channel communication strategies. Unlike traditional business VoIP products that offer only the capability of voice calling, SIP clients provide the capability of managing multichannel communication, such as SMS, emails, chat messages and voice messages, from a single platform. With this trend, SIP client services are gaining popularity in the market.
Diversifying your communications profile: SIP clients offer an alternate option for the UC profile. In case of issues in the primary UC services, businesses can leverage SIP clients to manage their communication services.
Toll bypass: Communications are one of the major costs of running a business. Within this expense, purchasing network hardware, such as phone systems and cables, constitutes a significant portion of the expenses. Traditional phone systems charge voice calls on per minute basis.
A SIP client service allows users to bypass all these costs. Toll bypass refers to routing voice calls from traditional phone systems to a VoIP solution that runs over the internet. This way, data costs are significantly lower than traditional network calls and it saves capital in the overall communication expenditure.
This service is more popular with businesses across multiple countries, where tariffs for international calls are significantly higher than the local tariffs. Using a SIP-client-enabled VoIP service allows users to stay within their communications budgets. This service is another reason why SIP clients are in demand in the market.
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