UK small firms wake up to converged comms

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UK small firms wake up to converged comms

SMEs 'strongly committing' to VoIP and combined mobile/fixed telephony.

Small to medium sized firms in the UK are "strongly committing" to converged telecoms such as VoIP and combined mobile/fixed and internet services, according to independent research published today for Orange by The Bathwick Group.

Over 80 percent of SMEs polled said that they use virtual private networks (VPNs) today and 57 percent use VoIP.

Small firms are looking seriously at unified communications, and driving demand for new products and services, according to the report.

Handheld computers, mobile phones and broadband top the list of investment priorities for 2007, alongside VPNs and VoIP.

Only 22 percent of respondents said that saving money was their prime objective when investing in advanced communications, while a third are focused on new applications and services.

Over half want improved communications management, new services or a single supplier solution.

Although 51 per cent of SMEs said that a single supplier would be more cost-effective or easier to manage, there is doubt as to whether the market can meet their needs today.

Almost 60 percent routinely minimise the number of communications suppliers they use, but also claim that there is not a simple or cost-effective solution for combined mobile, Internet and telephony services.

"It is clear that SMEs are in the vanguard of IP-based adoption, which many thought the preserve of large business," said Jason Ellis, head of convergence at Orange Business Services UK.

Interest in value-added services from unified services includes least cost routing (84 percent of respondents), unified messaging (80 percent) and location-based services (70 percent).
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