Smaller businesses with fewer than 50 staff are beginning to adopt VoIP in increasing numbers, a vendor survey has found.
Dennis Muscat, managing director at Pacific Internet Australia, said only a tiny fraction of businesses that size had adopted VoIP so far, but the company's quarterly broadband barometer survey suggested that many more planned to do so in the next 12 months.
"In our last survey, we have seen this only at about eight percent usage but the intention to use is up there as well," he said.
Pacific Internet's July broadband barometer surveyed 562 internet-enabled businesses with fewer than 50 employees from regional and metropolitan areas.
"I think SMBs are starting to see it can actually help their efficiencies and cost structures," Muscat said.
VoIP is considered an important signifier of businesses' convergence towards using a single, unified IP network.
However, Muscat conceded it would still be long before a large proportion of small companies adopted VoIP.
"It's a long innings, but I think we'll continue to see the popularity [of VoIP] increase," he said.
The July survey suggested that 25 percent of small businesses intended to adopt VoIP at some stage, up from 17 percent in Pacific Internet's January broadband barometer.
Sharon Buckley, general manager at Coal Services Health, a body devoted to promoting healthy working environment for coal miners, said her 170-employee organisation had recently adopted a converged network.
The most important reason was to cut costs. However, placing Coal Services for future growth was the second most important reason, she said.
"We have reduced communications costs by 40 percent, and saved 100 employees one hour a day," Buckley said.