SoftPhone.com New Cloud VoIP Offering - Invite Only

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SoftPhone.com New Cloud VoIP Offering - Invite Only

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Interesting new web-based VoIP offering I came across via CounterPath's Todd Carother's Google+ status update. The website is softphone.com and according to a whois lookup is indeed owned by CounterPath. Check out the website description:

Coming soon is a new cloud offering for SMBs for the United States and Canada — SoftPhone.com. With SoftPhone.com business users will be able to leverage their current IP-PBX or hosted offering to connect with other colleagues for FREE.

Whether you work out of an office, at home, a coffee shop or other venue, the SoftPhone.com cloud offering leverages your business number to stay connected with other colleagues via voice, video, messaging and even presence collapsing the challenges of communications between disparate IP-PBXs or hosted offerings.
Initially, I thought it was a web-based VoIP client, which are nothing new - see flaphone, iCall, Twilio or even Zingaya, though Zingaya is a click-to-call B2C offering, so it doesn't let you dial just any phone number. Even Google is looking to add VoIP calling via the browser via their WebRTC project.

Nevertheless, the concept of a cloud-based SIP client that allows you to connect with your SIP-based PBX is interesting. It'll be fascinating to find out if this offering uses Flash or HTML5, since obviously, Flash doesn't run on Apple's iOS operating system. I'm not even sure the nascent HTML5 standard fleshes out VoIP or video capabilities. This may be something that the WebRTC project is handling. The other question I have is how this cloud-based SIP softphone handles SIP credentials. Do you have to hand over your SIP credentials to SoftPhone.com? That wouldn't be good. Perhaps it is encrypted or uses OpenID authentication and doesn't store your SIP credentials on their servers. The other issue is IT staff control - allowing certain users to use this or not.

Read further on their website I saw this:
  • Targeted to 25-30 seat SMBs
  • Leverages your business number as your identity
  • Peer-to-peer voice and video calling, messaging and presence are FREE
  • Uses your existing IP PBX to reach non-SoftPhone.com users
  • Uses CounterPath's X-Lite softphone
The last part is what got my attention. X-Lite is a desktop SIP application, not a browser-app. So now I'm confused as to why a company would want to use SoftPhone.com as the "middle man" to negotiate SIP credentials. You can use X-Lite today to register with your corporate PBX directly. Hmmm...

I'll have to reach out to Todd or someone else at CounterPath to learn more and will update this post accordingly... In the meantime, you can request an invite here.


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