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Small companies embracing VoIP

Still not clear on the convergence advantage though

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Small companies are keen to embrace VoIP, but still aren’t seeing the real advantages of convergence.

An Orange-commissioned report, which goes under the catchy title of Small and Medium Enterprise Business Communications in the UK, is drawn from on-line interviews with 181 UK SMEs and asks about their current spending as well as plans for the future.

It turns out that 57 per cent of the SMEs interviewed are already using VoIP, with a similar number planning to invest in the technology over the next six months: either starting to use it or increasing their usage.

But VoIP is still seen primarily as a cost-saving technology, rather than enabling new applications or leading to converged communications. The poll found 5 per cent of respondents had no idea what convergence is, and 20 per cent felt it simply meant one bill for all communications services.

When it comes to picking a single supplier for all your communication needs, a concept Orange is keen to promote, then 55 per cent thought the advantage would be a single point of contact, while only 33 per cent felt it might enable new applications. The good news, for the communications companies, is that 17 per cent of SMEs said they would go with a single supplier even if it wasn’t the cheapest option.

While the sample size is quite small, and the companies were selected from the readership of Silicon.com so might be atypical, the trend towards converged services is significant. While cost is currently the primary driver towards converged solutions, it’s nice to see that the other advantages are starting to be realised.®

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