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Mobile VoIP apps extend offices to mobile devices

Mobile VoIP apps make your mobile phone your office extension. Make calls on a mobile device via company phone lines with the benefit of added security.

Mobile VoIP, simply put, connotes VoIP services for mobile devices. Mobile VoIP services cover both the consumer and enterprise markets, but there are important distinctions between the two markets and product offerings.

Today, in the enterprise market, most unified communications (UC) platforms extend their services to smartphones and tablets, which have become the new phase of evolution in business communications.

For example, Cisco's Jabber is a mobile and desktop application that provides users with softphone services (IP phone and voicemail), presence (real-time availability and status), instant messaging, video and Web conferencing, desktop sharing, and other features. Similar to Jabber, Microsoft's Skype for Business offers VoIP calls, presence status, instant messaging, video and Web conferencing, and can be powered by Microsoft's cloud services.

Enterprises can leverage these mobile VoIP technologies to increase productivity, curb some costs and extend their offices to mobile phones.

Bypass mobile carrier charges

Mobile VoIP apps turn your mobile phone into your office extension no matter where you go. Your mobile VoIP application connects and registers to your company's UC system, instantly making your office phone available directly to your mobile device. Both mobile and office users can view each other's availability and communicate smoothly via various methods, such as a direct VoIP call, video call and instant messaging.

Businesses that have invested in mobile UC services are miles ahead of the companies that have not.

By using your office extension on your mobile device, you're able to make calls using the company's phone lines, therefore bypassing mobile carrier charges. It is also possible to route international calls via the company and through a SIP provider, minimizing international call charges.

Modern business mobile VoIP services support encrypted connections via SSL WebVPN or encrypted VoIP streams via SRTP. You can call, exchange messages, receive your voicemail and make video calls without concern. This capability contrasts with users in enterprises using unauthorized VoIP applications on smartphones, creating a serious risk of information leakage.

The emergence of 4G networks is dramatically increasing bandwidth availability to smartphones and tablet devices, making it possible to deliver high-demanding HD video streams and multimedia presentations through mobile carrier networks. UC vendors will continue to upgrade their mobile VoIP services to ensure they match the network speeds and technology available at the time.

A company's compliance policies might require mobile VoIP user calls and data to be tracked. This could include external contractors who are given access to the services offered by the UC platform.

Organizations with service-level agreements can ensure their customers are able to reach their support engineers and technical managers no matter where they are by simply dialing their office extension number. This eliminates the need for employees to share their mobile numbers with customers, forcing all communications to be logged and channeled through the organization's UC system.

Frameworks such as ITIL, a collection of processes that provides companies a methodical way to create IT services, measure user demands, manage IT lifecycles, and is the core of any modern IT strategy. Most UC platforms and their mobile VoIP services provide the necessary user and enterprise features, service monitoring, troubleshooting tools, upgrade paths and vendor support, making it easier to analyze and integrate them into an organization's framework.

Consumer vs. enterprise mobile VoIP apps

Consumer-based mobile VoIP services are designed using different standards than the enterprise market, as the main purpose is to provide basic VoIP communication, messaging and, in some cases, video conferencing. Some examples of such services include Viber, consumer Skype, WhatsApp and other similar applications offered on most mobile platforms. Many businesses use these free VoIP services instead of investing in a central UC service and reaping more robust benefits.

At the enterprise level, businesses that have invested in mobile UC services are miles ahead of the companies that have not. If your company's communication requirements are still served by an outdated analog PBX system with no support for mobile users, it's time to consider upgrading to the latest UC offerings.

Companies always upgrade their business mobile phones to the latest models; why not extend this philosophy into the core business communication infrastructure and reap its benefits?

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