Re-Purposing Mobile Devices for Business VoIP Calls and Work Apps

For SMBs, sometimes the easiest way to save money is to re-purpose older devices. How many still own an older iPhone or Android collecting dust ever since you upgraded to a more current iteration? While we’ve been told over the years that ‘planned obsolescence’ is something to be expected, we can still find ways to save.


Cellular Service Not Required

As we continue to upgrade smartphone after smartphone, we consistently face excessive investment costs. Why should we add to that expense line, by paying a monthly telecom fee as well?

Older devices can operate just fine without a SIM card, or an active carrier service.

Whether you’re using your phone on wifi regularly or just for a short period of time — perhaps while you’re traveling for business — your older device in many instances is all you need.

Cloud based phone systems like Telzio enable you to make VoIP calls without a cellular service provider. As long as you have wifi, you can make and receive calls with your Telzio service from any location.


Access to Work Apps

With a wifi-only connection and the right apps, an older device can also be used with collaboration tools like Zoom and Slack, and VoIP services like Telzio. With internet connectivity and a smartphone, you have a range of work apps you can use.

Considering the expansive app stores we now have at our disposal, this isn’t all that surprising, but did you know you can also send and receive text messages?

The Telzio mobile app enables you to send and receive text messages from your business number right through your mobile device, even without cellular service. All you need is wifi connection to be fully functional on the app.


Alternative Security System

Another cost-savings for smaller businesses is to use your old smartphone to assemble your very own office or home security system.

With wifi, you can transform a smartphone into a wireless IP webcam using apps designed to assist in this endeavor.

  • For an Android-only setup, Perch is a recommended option. Download the app, place your phone where you want it, and you can watch all the action on another phone or computer.
  • For an iOS or Android+iOS setup, Presence is a consideration. You can set up multiple phones this way, and it has a web view option to check the feeds on your computer.
  • For Windows Phone, Gotya seems to be the preferred option for many users.
  • AtHome Camera offers remote monitoring over 3G/4G or wifi, has motion detection, two-way talking, scheduled recording, and is multi-platform.
  • Smart Home Security WardenCam offers much of the same functionality and is also free, but its unique selling point is probably the utilization of cloud storage support, specifically Dropbox.

Downsides

When you weigh the pros and cons, one of the major downsides with this approach is GPS. Since phones use cellular connections to help pinpoint location data, when you’re away from the office without tapping into a WiFi hotspot, you will have to rely on other types of ’global position systems.’ And Wi-Fi, particularly at public hotspots, is considered less secure than cellular networks.

Ways around this is to use apps like NavFree USA. It downloads maps to use offline and offers free turn-by-turn navigation. Google Maps can also download maps offline.

Also, if you choose to use a carrier-branded phone off-contract, you may run into issues getting software updates without an active SIM from that carrier in the phone.


Saving on Telephone Costs

If you want to save on telephone equipment costs for new employees, today’s tips can kickstart a means to end, at minimal to no costs. Picking up and re-purposing an unlocked phone to use just on wifi can be a great solution.

On average we typically upgrade our phones
every 29 months.

Even with the seduction of new and improved devices always on the horizon, we might consider trying to resist the lure of the next shiny new thing — particularly when all you need to do is a little dusting off of something that’s already been paid for.

Ron is part of the marketing team at Telzio, covering everything from tips and tech for growing businesses to customer success stories for the Telzio blog. Previously a Director of Advertising and Public Relations at Marriott International, Ron has published several books including the award-winning graphic novel Facebucks.