In the telecommunications space, conversations surrounding VoIP often center on the office or business environment seeking to reduce the cost of communications by merging voice and data networks. In recent years, however, VoIP is also making its way to the mobile device, extending its low cost communications to the user on the go.
VoIP for mobile devices is not a service generally offered directly by major carriers. In fact, carriers want their subscribers using minutes so they can ensure the revenue stream. Many of them do support integration with mobile VoIP applications, however, to deliver added value to the subscriber – as long as they use some minutes and a data plan, too.
For those working in the VoIP call center, the ability to access the network on the go to make calls regardless of location is essential. If Hurricane Sandy taught us one thing it was the importance of the virtual call center to ensure business continues as usual regardless of the environment.
The virtual agent with an Android or Apple (News - Alert) smartphone can benefit from Acrobits’ mobile VoIP application. The company recently announced it has added to its Android product line with Acrobits Softphone, Groundwire and Cloud Softphone. The last in the series was recently honored with the 2013 Unified Communications TMC (News - Alert) Labs Innovation Award. All of the apps will support Push Notifications, critical for the frequent smartphone user with limited battery.
Why does this matter? The VoIP call center agent working from home or a remote location is accustomed to multitasking while on the job. This is critical even on the smartphone, but it can quickly drain battery life. By pushing notifications through Google Cloud Messaging, users don’t have to keep connections open, draining precious battery life.
While this is great news for Android (News - Alert) users, other apps are available for those who need to stay connected anywhere and anytime with a VoIP connection. Skype, of course, is available for the smartphone, but it is not the only option. Users can also opt for Fring, Viber, Line2 (News - Alert), Tango, Linphone, WiCall, Google Voice and many more. Each offers its own features and supports different options, making it essential that the user evaluate the app thoroughly before putting it to use for business.
So why does VoIP matter for the mobile user? As mentioned earlier, mobile carriers rely on usage plans to drive revenue. If the subscriber goes beyond the allowed usage, he or she will face additional charges. When using VoIP, the subscriber can leverage a local Wi-Fi connection to complete a call at no additional cost. If the subscriber is on the phone a lot, this is an important feature.
Regardless of the reasons or the end goal, the demand for mobile VoIP is growing as subscribers everywhere are relying more on their mobile devices than any other communication channel. When they can leverage a platform that allows for increased access with no additional cost, they’re likely to sit up and take notice.
Edited by Ashley Caputo