Product Review: Plantronics Savi 8220 Headset Is the Connected Worker’s Best Friend

BY JASON HARRIS, REVIEWS EDITOR

Working in the 21st century means having to stay connected. These days, we have many, many options for connecting with our colleagues, friends and coworkers. For me, I’m constantly switching between my deskphone, computer-based service such as Zoom, Slack and other services, and of course my mobile phone.

We’re used to wired headsets that can connect to our deskphones that sales, support, administrative or anyone who calls regularly for work are familiar with — and then in some cases, we need a separate headset for smartphones and tablets such as Apple AirPods that connect via Bluetooth.

This is why the Plantronics Savi 8220 headset is pure genius. This connected device can hook up to all three devices that you have your daily calls on, no matter which device they occur on, all at the same time. Let’s dig in and see how the Savi 8220 performs.

First Impressions and Unboxing

The Plantronics Savi 8220, as you can see in this picture, is a two-piece solution — the base itself and the wireless headset. The box comes with all accessories needed, the cords and a quick start guide to get you up and running fast.

The headset is well-built and the kit comes with:

  • Wireless headset 
  • USB Type-A cable
  • Phone RJ-11 cable
  • Headset base

This headset is extremely lightweight and so comfortable. It connects to your laptop or desktop computer via USB cable; to your mobile phone via Bluetooth connection; and to your deskphone using the included phone jack. One might think this connection set up and wiring would be difficult, but every cable is clearly labeled and documented in the supplied “Quick Start” guide.

The Impressive Feature List

The Plantronics Savi 8220 is a premium grade desk headset, and this is apparent with the feature list. This device delivers enterprise-grade DECT audio, which means you’ll have amazing stereo sound, active noise cancellation (which cuts out background noise) and more. Let’s go through this impressive feature list:

  • Multi-device connectivity including mobile phone, computer and deskphone
    • You can even join calls together between your mobile and desk with the push of a button for handy three-way calling
  • 580 feet of range— that’s almost two football fields, or three hockey rinks, in distance
  • Noise-canceling mic
  • Battery life that lasts 13 hours of talk time before needing a charge
  • Adaptive power system that activates low-power mode when the headset is close to its base, to conserve battery life
  • Mute alert that tells you if you’re talking on mute mode
  • Built-in ringer so you can take calls away from your desk

Buttons and Controls

The Savi 8220 headset and base have buttons that let you control every aspect of the calling experience with the device.

On the headset itself, the adjustable mic enables you to position it perfectly so your callers can hear you. There are two buttons on the mic boom, including the multi-function call button that starts and ends calls, and the red mute button. On the right side of the headphone is a slider dial-like rotating button that adjusts call volume in an easy way. (That means no having to fuss with up and down buttons that can be super confusing.)

On the bottom of each can (the headphone itself) are two buttons — one is off/on so you can control power. On the other can is a button to toggle ANC, or active noise cancellation, that cuts down background noise on the mic in case you’re in a noisy environment.

On the base, there are three buttons that control which ‘channel’ the headset is connected to — either your mobile phone via Bluetooth, your computer or your deskphone. Again, you can bridge calls between your mobile phone and your deskphone in case you need a quick 3-way call with ease.

Performance and Call Quality

So, there are many things to evaluate with the Savi 8220. At its price point, it’s important that this headset performs. I’m here to tell you — it really does!

As far as call voice quality, I’ve never heard my callers with such high-fidelity. No matter if I’m calling through my deskphone (the headset is hooked up currently through my Grandstream VVX3370), my mobile or a Zoom call on my Mac, the high-fidelity audio features shine. Also, HD Voice calls via my mobile are high quality. Callers say I sound crystal clear, and their voices are also fantastic to me.

It’s remarkable how comfortable the Savi 8220 is. It’s surprisingly lightweight, easy to wear all day and it is amazingly sturdy.

I also really like the wireless range of this headset. I can walk around my entire office, which means I’m hundreds of feet away, and take calls even through walls. This is super handy for when you’re on a call and need to run and grab a print job, or hop into a huddle room or conference room for privacy. 

This headset’s beauty is in its simplicity. After initial setup and hook up, it’s so amazing to handle calls between three different devices with wireless ease  — without the corded headset tangled mess or need to switch between earpieces.

Conclusion

The Plantronics 8220 stands out in every way it should. This includes:

✅Easy to set up and use

✅Amazing battery life

✅Fantastic call performance — both for you and those you’re calling

✅Long-range Bluetooth that lets you walk around your office and stay connected

No matter if you’re an office worker who calls others down the hall or across the country via your deskphone, or someone who goes between their mobile and desktop conferencing solutions like ReachUC, GoToMeeting, Zoom and others, this headset will add value to your work setup. 

*Like all products Jason Harris is reviewing, this device is available in the SkySwitch store, accessible through the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard.

Product Review: The Poly Trio 8300 Conference Phone

BY JASON HARRIS, REVIEWS EDITOR

I work for a small company and as a small business, we try to conduct our conference calls the best we can — on our laptops. Thus, we often struggle with the quality of voice calls and as a result, our business meetings suffer. In our company’s case, we use a variety of conference calling solutions based on who we’re meeting with, including WebEx, Zoom, UberConference, Microsoft Teams and Amazon Chime — and also GoToMeeting and the like. 

 

We also call each other directly when meetings are between smaller groups. It’s comical because, typically, we huddle around one person’s laptop, which is unfortunate for the person we’re calling because they can’t hear people who are sitting a few feet away from the hosts’ laptop. Thankfully, this is why Poly has conference calling phones that make everyone’s phone collaboration easy and so headache-free.

 

Poly’s Trio line of conference phones brings a robust variety of features, capabilities and options for businesses and conference rooms of all sizes. Today we’ll take a look at the Trio 8300 conference phone, which is intended to be a smart conferencing solution for small meeting rooms.

Features and Overview

The Poly Trio 8300 is the least expensive Poly conference calling solution aimed at small meeting spaces or huddle rooms aimed at calls with 2-5 people. The conference phone features noise-blocking technology, adeptly called NoiseBlock, Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with video conferencing solutions including Zoom, Skype for Business, WebEx and more.

Let’s peek at the Trio 8300’s features:

  • Three microphones designed to pick up voices up to 12’ away
  • NoiseBlock noise-canceling capability
  • WiFi connectivity for cord-free collaboration
  • A useful on-screen display for call management
  • Color LED lights that indicate call and mute status
  • Support for up to three phone lines
  • Full call management including call forwarding, waiting, do-not-disturb and more
  • Dimensions of 13.3” x 14.1” x 3.5”

Opening the Box

The Poly Trio 8300 is an attractive UFO-looking device that is designed to fit nicely in your huddle or conference room’s desk setup. As expected, it’s 3-star shape is designed in a way to pick up voices, as this is a conference-calling phone.

 

In the box, you’ll find the Trio unit itself along with a power adapter and an ethernet cord. Simply remove the plastic and attach the physical cords, and your Trio 8300 will boot up, assume an IP address on your local network, and you’re ready for provisioning and set up.

Setup on SkySwitch

Once I had the Poly Trio 8300 unboxed and on the network, the conference phone boots up for the initial set up.

 

Setting up on SkySwitch’s network is easy — simply find your device’s MAC address on the onscreen menus and migrate to the management dashboard to add the Trio to your organization’s account. If the Trio 8300, or any Poly device is ordered via the SkySwitch Store, it comes auto-provisioned. Zero-touch provisioning is clearly the way to go, but as this 8300 came direct from Poly, I set it up.

 

In just a few minutes, I simply navigated to the Admin settings, then Network Configuration, then Provisioning Server, changed the Server Type to HTTP and set the server address to http://sipcfg.io/cfg —- then, the Poly Trio 8300 power cycled itself and the phone came back ready to use!

 

One last step I had, after the reboot, was enabling Wi-Fi on the Trio 8300 according to the setup in our conference room. To accomplish this, I followed Poly’s instructions. Note: you’ll need to know your organization’s Wi-Fi Network type, SSID and passcode. For example, our network is WPA2-PSK – I had to set that preference in our Trio 8300’s menu.

Performance and Real-World Usage

I’ve placed calls on the Trio 8300 in our conference room, which is sized appropriately for the unit. We have a conference room with brick on one side and a small amount of background noise (because the room isn’t totally noise-isolated), so it’s a good testing place for this conference calling phone.

In a word, the Trio 8300 has performed marvelously. It is so nice to be able to have a conference call with as many as 5 people, and for all of us to be fully audible to our callers. With a laptop-based phone call, we’re asked 10-20% of the time to repeat ourselves and we have trouble hearing the other party.

 

I tested the range of the Trio 8300 by stepping around 10 feet away from the unit and asked callers how I sounded. They reported that I, of course, wasn’t as audible as I was when I was 2-4 feet away, but they could hear every word.

 

Also, Wi-Fi performance has been strong on the Trio 8300. With this unit on our office’s Wi-Fi, we have had no dropouts, garbled audio or performance issues at all. In fact, performance is so fantastic that it’s not noticeable at all that this unit is using a wireless, not a hard-wired, connection.

Conclusion

The Poly Trio 8300 is an effective and affordable conference calling phone/solution for your small business that’s aimed to keep small teams in close connection. It performs very well, even in a wireless-network based environment.

*Like all products Jason Harris is reviewing, this device is available in the SkySwitch store, accessible through the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard.

Talk Through Your Work Day in Style With Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC

BY JASON HARRIS, REVIEWS EDITOR

With the proliferation of Apple AirPods, we’re seeing wireless headphones everywhere. Wireless earbuds are usually more convenient because they generally sound good for music or call performance, enabling you to not fuss with wires, and with the added bonus that they can be concealed if you have longer hair.

AirPods are generally great for music, however, these and other wireless earbuds simply aren’t very capable when it comes to making phone calls. This is because of a lack of all-day battery life, mics that can’t pick up the user’s voice effectively or a lack of noise cancellation, resulting in the user not being able to hear callers. 

Luckily, though, there are some great options — for the last two weeks I’ve been trialing the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC headset, and I’m happy to report it’s a fantastic option for office workers who need to stay connected.

While devices such as Apple AirPods are meant for listening to music and light calling, the Plantronics 6200 UC headset is an all-day office-focused powerhouse designed for call quality, whether you’re making calls through a dedicated office phone, your mobile phone, tablet or computer. The noise-cancellation is perfect for open offices and the four-mic array ensures your callers can hear you loud and clear no matter where you’re located.

First Impressions and Unboxing

Plantronics, with the boxing and packaging for the 6200 UC, makes it apparent right up front: this product is a premium one.

The headset is well-built and the kit comes with:

  • Wireless charging base
  • Premium carrying case
  • USB dongle that’s required for streaming audio from your computer
  • Different sized ear tips to accommodate your ear (These are flexible and comfortable.)

 

The 6200 UC is a neckband-style set of headphones, with a halo-shaped neckband that’s flexible with a matte finish that rests on your neck. Out of the neckband come the two comfortable-tipped earbuds that go in your ears. The ear tips rest in your ears for a more secure fit — which is comfortable for all-day use.

 

To connect this headset to your computer, you can use the included BT600 USB adapter. You can charge the headset using the charging base accessory that plugs into any open USB port. You can also simply use any microUSB charging cable.

Buttons, Features and Controls

The headband is full of controls that span the left and right side of the 6200 UC unit. 

The most used button is the multi-function button on the right side that handles playback, track advancement and call management. Users can advance tracks by pressing this multi-function button multiple times, and can hang-up calls by holding down this button for two seconds. Plus and minus buttons on the outside handle volume control. Also on the right side is a small power/pairing button. Switching over to the left side, and there’s a large red button that allows you to mute your mic, and a slider that controls active noise cancellation (ANC). 

It might seem like this headset is complicated with multiple buttons — and admittedly, it does take some getting used to. This learning curve happens fast, and I’m glad Plantronics placed the most commonly used controls (call management and mute) in easy-to-reach spots. I also really enjoy that the neckband vibrates when I have an incoming call — so if I’m away from my computer or phone (maybe at the printer or talking to a coworker in their office/cubicle), I can receive alerts to incoming calls with ease.

Performance and Call Quality

We’ve established that the Plantronics 6200 UC is packed with features that will lead to a great call performance —- but how does the headset actually perform?

Let’s talk call-quality — the 6200 UC is packed with a four-mic array that’s supposed to focus on your voice, even in a busy/noisy environment such as outside on the street or in an open-office. I tested the headset in a moderately busy coffee shop, my open office and walking down a city street — and in each environment, my callers reported my audio to be clear. The one exception was on the sidewalk, as callers did have minor trouble hearing me in the midst of car traffic and asked me to repeat myself only a few times, but this will likely be corrected with a future software update.

One facet of the Plantronics 6200 UC I enjoyed most was having active noise cancelation. It’s ideal at canceling out low-frequency rumbles you hear in the office such as HVAC units, the nearby copier and your office chitter-chatter. The units’ ANC isn’t as effective as my Bose QuietComfort 35 is — but great for improving my caller’s voice quality when in a noisier place.

My favorite feature of the 6200 UC is mute detection. If you’re on a call and you’ve muted yourself and you start to talk, the headset will say “mute on” in your ears to prompt you to unmute yourself, so you can ensure you’re heard on the call.

For music-listening quality, the Plantronics won’t satisfy many audiophiles. I found the bass to be lacking while listening to tunes and the mid-ranges were weak as well. Treble noises sounded fine, so I’d describe music playback as OK but not great. It’s apparent this headset is meant for phone calls….and it does those extremely well.

Battery life is insane on the 6200 UC — logged at 16 hours for music playback and 9 hours for talk time. I found these numbers to be true to what I experienced in testing. Also, the Bluetooth range is advertised at 90 feet, however, I found 50 feet to be a real-world range when music or calls would start to cut out.

There’s one appealing feature I discovered but didn’t get to test out — if you’re calling into a conference room with multiple mics around the room, you can hear your callers in surround sound, as if you’re in the room, on this headset. So cool!

Conclusion

The Plantronics 6200 UC ticks so many boxes for office workers, no matter where their office takes them. These include:

✅Amazing battery life

✅Fantastic call performance — both for you and those you’re calling

✅Music playback that keeps you going between calls

✅Long-range Bluetooth that lets you walk around and stay connected

My favorite aspect of this headset is that it perfectly complimented my workday —- from calls on my mobile using the ReachUC app, to calls on Skype, Slack, Zoom and my office ‘phone’ via my computer and listening to music on my mid-afternoon walks. The Plantronics 6200 UC went with me the entire time and lasted for half a week between charges, which is a huge asset.

*Like all products Jason Harris is reviewing, this device is available in the SkySwitch store, accessible through the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard.

Robocalls Got You Down? Your Business Internet Phones Need Nomorobo

BY JASON HARRISREVIEWS EDITOR

Robocalls are a huge problem for anyone in the US with a phone. It doesn’t matter if it’s your home phone, mobile or work line — there’s nothing more annoying than picking up the phone in the middle of a busy workday and have it be a computer on the other end trying to sell you a vacation or some anti-virus software.

The problem goes back decades — when the FTC started the “Do Not Call Registry”. Remember back when we were promised that the National Do Not Call list was supposed to solve our spam-call problem? With modern-day calling infrastructure, the robocall problem has become even worse. Much worse. Spammers, fraudsters and marketers use them to annoy owners of landlines and mobile phones….driving pretty much all Americans crazy.

Now There’s a Viable Robocall-Busting Solution

Let’s introduce you, dear reader, to Nomorobo. This service is aimed at ending robocalls for your business or residential phone number. Nomorobo offers a fee-based service for mobile users via their application and subscription service for resellers’ customers available in the SkySwitch dashboard.

Nomorobo’s AI-based platform monitors millions of calls and rates the incoming phone numbers based on a few factors, like: how many calls is a specific number making in a short amount of time? The service gets this data from phone companies, mobile app users and most importantly, a telephone honeypot – basically a bank of “dirty” phone numbers that’s been set up to act as a “target” for robocallers. Then, using their AI-based data analysis, Nomorobo makes an assessment to decide if the caller is a robocall or not.

According to Nomorobo, 36% of calls are illegal/unwanted — which equates to billions of calls per day. The company has more than 3 million subscribers and claims to block robocalls with 97% accuracy.

Nomorobo Is Free for Landline, Charges for Mobile

For mobile users on Android and iOS, Nomorobo charges a mere $1.99 per month for the service. However, the good news is, for customers using wired phones at work — the service is completely free for landlines. 

By registering to use Nomorobo, you’re also contributing to the greater community because you’re helping defeat robocalls and stop them from calling other business owners by increasing the call data Nomorobo analyzes each day.

Nomorobo also offers a separate service, “Nomorobo for Business”. The mobile and landline services mentioned above kicks in with spam prevention after the consumer’s phone rings, so users may hear a ring or two before the call is blocked. But, “Nomorobo for Business” has an additional feature that many business owners will enjoy: it intercepts spam calls before the user’s phone even rings. “Nomorobo for Business” is a premium service made available for SkySwitch resellers to purchase and deploy.

Get Nomorobo on Your SkySwitch-Powered Phone Numbers Today

Luckily, for those of us with SkySwitch-powered phone lines, you can enable Nomorobo by following a few easy steps. In our Knowledge Center/Docs, you’ll see all the instructions for how to get started.

Once you get Nomorobo configured on SkySwitch all that robocall-blocking magic happens on Nomorobo’s side — ending robocalls using the service is as easy as registering your number on the Nomorobo website and like magic, the robocalls end.

When I think of businesses and robocalls, I consider the vast amount of lost productivity organizations lose to distractions and frustration caused by the interruptions. With Nomorobo, we are happy to have a tool to help fight back!

You can learn more about Nomorobo and how SkySwitch is working with them in our webinar and the accompanying slide show. Resellers can sign up by contacting their sales rep, and deploy for Nomorobo by visiting the SkySwitch reseller dashboard and easily activating the service for their customers.

Review: Snom C520 Cloud Conference Calling Phone

BY JASON HARRISREVIEWS EDITOR

I’m a distributed team member that works for a SF-based company from Oregon. Being able to hear my colleagues when they’re in the conference room is always difficult because we use our laptops during conference calls, and inevitably there’s always a team member or two I can’t hear well while on calls.

We meet quite often – and not being able to hear parts of my team clearly is super annoying! Well, not anymore. 

Our team has been trialing the Snom C520 Conference phone, and I’ve enjoyed having this stellar piece of equipment in our arsenal of tech tools. 

The Snom C520’s Unique Hardware Offering

Snom is a brand known for outstanding audio engineering and quality – and the C520 lines up with Snom’s reputation. Built into the C520, there are clear, audible speakers and a one-of-a-kind surprise. Two of the three mics detach from the normal conference phone, allowing them to be used wirelessly to spread around your conference room. So now, Sally at the end of the table can be understood by everyone on the call! Joe from IT can be heard clearly, too! 

The two detachable mics charge right on the C520 and feature 12 hours of talk-time and 70 hours of standby time, meaning they’re perfect for a full business-day of meetings.

Setup and Onboarding

The Snom C520 comes with everything you need to get started in the box, including the C520 unit itself, power brick and ethernet cables. They’ve color-coded the cables to make set up easy. The C520 is 11” wide and 11” long – it weighs 3.4 points – so it’s large enough to enable a group to talk but not so big, or heavy, that it’s a cumbersome device to move from room to room if you need to do that.

To activate the Snom C520, I logged into the device’s web user interface. I was able to find the IP address the C520 received by using the on-screen menu and then went to the setup page. 

By simply entering my SIP server, username and password, the C520 was instantly provisioned and ready for action. Just in the case set up goes awry, I suggest having IT support handy – however, I believe non-technical folks can activate the Snom C520 just fine.

Performance, Features and Usage

I’ve used the C520 to call internationally and domestically – including landlines, office extensions and mobile phones. Each time, the C520 made the call with ease with zero drop-outs. The people I spoke with were always clearly audible and the voice quality was superb. I really like that the Snom C520 can be powered over BPOE (power over ethernet) if your network supports it. For offices without BPOE set up, you can use the included power adapter as well. 

In my testing, I found that the mics that were detached never cut out and were extremely reliable. I had to go into another room to finally make the mics cut out – I was surprised at the distance they can go reliably.

One facet of the C520 I enjoy is that it’s a full-duplex phone – meaning callers can speak and hear the other person at the same time. Also – the unit supports up to 3 phone lines, which is nice if you have multiple teams using the device in a medium-sized business.

Need to make a more private call using the Snom C520? The unit has built-in Bluetooth so you can pair it with your mobile phone or Bluetooth headset for a more confidential calling situation.

Lastly – if you have a large conference room, you can use Snom’s C52-SP expansion speakerphone – which essentially doubles the amount of speakerphones you have in the room! Consider this if you have more than 10-15 people on a conference call that all need to connect.

Conclusion

The Snom C520 can be bought in the SkySwitch Store, accessible through the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard. I highly recommend this very solid conference calling performer for each room in your office, where you have multiple people taking part in virtual meetings.

ReachUC On iOS Is the Mobile Worker’s Dream

BY JASON HARRISREVIEWS EDITOR

The wired phone that sits on your desk is a thing of the past, right? No! Not in business! We use deskphones to call colleagues down the hall, the front desk or to ring co-workers anywhere around the globe.

However, with more of the workforce going ‘mobile’, either working from home part-time, out of other offices or co-working spaces, the deskphone is rapidly being replaced by mobile phones. While this is a handy solution, and really can meet mobile worker’s basic needs – let’s face it, it’s a chore to carry around multiple mobile phones, one for personal and the other for work. Add to it that not everyone wants to divulge a personal mobile number to co-workers, clients or similar, and you have a problem in need of a solution.

In response, there is a solution. It’s the ‘softphone’ – which is an app that you install on your iPhone. The softphone enables you to dial extensions, listen to voicemail and use your work number – just as if you’re in the office talking into a regular deskphone. 

In recent weeks, I’ve been testing SkySwitch’s recommended ReachUC app on my iPhone.

ReachUC Overview

Getting started with ReachUC is quite easy – simply download the app from the App Store. Login by using your username and password obtained from your IS or IT group. Your login will be similar to the following: 4444@yourcompanyname.

After you log-in and launch ReachUC, you’ll be presented with the simple, easy-to-use user experience.

With ReachUC, it’s simple to:

  • Place calls to extensions and regular phone numbers. Your caller ID will appear to your callers as coming from your work extension, presenting the same number.
  • Receive calls – they’ll appear on your iPhone screen just like a regular phone call
  • Enable in-call actions such as adding a third person, transferring the call, putting the call on hold, etc
  • Message using text-messaging (SMS) exchanges directly in the app – which is perfect for quick notes, reminders, etc.
  • Make video calls if the person you call is on a video-capable device – and make distributed team members feel not-so-far away

If you’re in a place with spotty cellular data or crummy WiFi, such as a hotel or conference room floor, ReachUC has a fantastic option: the ‘callback’ and ‘GSM Call’ will force the outgoing call to use your mobile carrier (not using IP to route the call). 

Call and ReachUC Performance

Sure – ReachUC has features, but how does it perform as a calling app?

To put this to the test, I was using the app on an older iOS handset – an iPhone 6s and I witnessed outstanding app performance and user experience. I used the app to call SkySwitch colleagues at their desk on Grandstream handsets, traditional phones in Singapore, the UK and the US and mobile phones in the US and Canada. Each time I used ReachUC paired with SkySwitch – the calls were crystal clear. I experienced no call dropouts, muted callers or other annoyances.

The in-call controls let me mute calls, transfer to other colleagues and conduct three-way calls. The app’s performance was solid and predictable.

Are you concerned with your iPhone’s battery life? Me too. Much like the ReachUC Android app, ReachUC on iOS uses push notifications to alert you to new calls and messages, which means the app doesn’t maintain a constant connection to your company’s servers, draining your battery at the same time.

Tips for the best experience

ReachUC is built to be very user-friendly, even for those not so tech savvy. Here are some tips I’d offer to ensure an easy getting going experience:

  • Ensure you can get ahold of your IT/support team in case you can’t get signed in to ReachUC after you first install it and run it for the first time. 
    • You’ll likely just need your username and password and will be all set after this – but, just in case, have IT available via phone call or in-person.
  • Set ReachUC as an application on your phone’s home screen for easy access. There’s nothing more annoying than having to hunt for an application you’re going to be using on a routine basis during your workday.
  • Have younger folks that you work with (you know – those under 40?). Be sure to use ReachUC’s messaging capability. If you have a quick question or need to ping your colleague – send them a short note rather than calling and leaving a voicemail. 😂

So – now go download ReachUC for iOS and enjoy your deskphone on your trusty iPhone!

ReachUC Is An Ideal Business Cloud Voice Softphone

BY JASON HARRIS, REVIEWS EDITOR

Many ‘modern’ businesses have begun eliminating the desk phone. You know, the one that sits in your office/cubicle and enables you to dial extensions to reach co-workers, departments and colleagues? As the workforce has become increasingly mobile with co-working and work-from-home arrangements in the last decade or two, business phones on the desk are becoming a thing of the past. 

Instead, 21st-century workers use mobile phones, either their own, or one provided by their company.

The convenience of being mobile sounds fantastic, but there are downsides. Some employees either don’t always feel comfortable divulging a personal mobile phone number to colleagues and co-workers as their work number due to privacy or confidentiality reasons, or they simply don’t like carrying around two mobile phones.

Enter the ‘softphone’ – or, a phone line/number that works as an app on your Android mobile or iPhone that enables you to dial extensions and use your work number presented to caller ID – just as if you’re in the office ‘chained’ to your regular desk phone.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been testing SkySwitch’s recommended ReachUC application on my Samsung Galaxy S9+. 

ReachUC Overview

Installing ReachUC is easy – download the app from the Play Store and log in using your credentials which can be obtained from your IT department. Your login will be something that looks like this: 1234@yourcompany.com

Then, authorize the ReachUC app to use permissions such as call management and more. These are necessary for the app to function properly on the mobile phone.

Once you install the app, you’ll see the straight-forward, easy-to-use user interface.

With ReachUC, you can:

  • Make calls as if you’re in the office at your desk phone. They’ll appear to your callers as coming from your work extension, presenting the same number.
  • Receive calls – they’ll appear on your Android’s screen just like a regular call
  • Message using text-messaging like exchanges directly in the app
  • Make video calls if the person you call is on a video-capable device
  • Conduct in-call actions such as adding a third person, transferring the call, putting the call on hold, etc

One stand-out feature of ReachUC for me is the ‘callback’ or ‘GSM call’ option. If you’re on spotty Wi-Fi or in an area with a bad data connection, you can use these options to place the call through your mobile carrier, (not an IP or VoIP) when you’re trying to reach a colleague’s extension or dial out. For those who have used Google Voice to make calls, you’ll see the similarity.

Call and ReachUC App Performance

I used ReachUC over the past few weeks to call SkySwitch colleagues via their desk phones and also called them while they’ve used the ReachUC app on their mobile phones. I’ve made international calls to landlines and mobile numbers in the UK, Singapore and all over the United States. Every time I used ReachUC, the calls were crystal clear with no dropouts, no muted callers or anything of the sort.

I put the in-call controls to use by muting calls, placing the call on hold and transferring calls – the app performed flawlessly each time.

My favorite aspect of ReachUC, however, is the amazing fact that this app uses minimal battery life. Because it is built to use push notifications and not maintain an always-on data connection to your company’s PBX (the server that handles call management), ReachUC doesn’t drain your battery like most Internet calling applications. This feature alone makes ReachUC stand out in the competitive landscape and adds so much convenience for ReachUC users worldwide.

Tips to Pass On

Using ReachUC is super easy, even for non-tech savvy office phone users. 

However, here are a few tips to make your ReachUC experience top-notch.

  • Approve all the permissions ReachUC requests upon your first app launch. These include mic access and the ability to make calls. Don’t worry – the app isn’t nefarious – it needs mic access to enable you to talk and be heard during a phone call. 😀
  • Have IT as a resource in case you can’t get signed in to ReachUC after you first install it and run it for the first time. You’ll likely just need your username and password and will be all set after this – but, just in case, have IT available via phone call or in-person.
  • Set ReachUC as an application on your phone’s home screen for easy access. There’s nothing more annoying than having to hunt for an application you’re going to be using on a routine basis during your workday.
  • In ReachUC you can take advantage of much needed mobile compatible SMS, and one more great addition in ReachUC. Faxing. While you don’t fax as much today as in the past, and fax machines are becoming a dying breed like the desk phone, the addition of it in ReachUC is a big, added plus.

Now – go install ReachUC for your Android or iPhone and enjoy your desk phone on your mobile!

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