Thursday, April 13, 2006

Low awareness of voice over IP costs smaller firms dear

Over three-quarters of managers at smaller firms have limited or no understanding of voice over IP (VoIP) technology. This lack of knowledge could collectively be costing them up to £1bn ($1.7bn)a year in unnecessary call and equipment costs.

A survey of 522 small to medium-sized enterprises by communications specialist Inclarity in February found that of those questioned, the 12 percent making voice calls over the internet had seen their annual communications bills fall by 23 percent.

IT costs had fallen by 13 percent, largely through the convergence of separate voice and data networks that yielded savings on the cost of equipment, said Inclarity marketing manager David Larkin.

The majority of respondents were using VoIP solutions from providers such as Viatel and Vonage. Larkin believes that the relatively poor quality of peer-to-peer consumer services such as Skype have caused many managers to think twice about deploying any form of the technology.

"Worries about security and performance have to be addressed. Skype and other services have been good at raising awareness [about VoIP] but they also cloud the true business quality of VoIP," he said.

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