BY JASON HARRIS, REVIEWS 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.
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!