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October 18, 2011

UC, Small Business VoIP Markets to See Continued Growth: Study

 By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

A growing number of small and medium-sized businesses are investing in unified communication technologies, including VoIP phone systems, video conferencing solutions and unified messaging technologies, according to a recent study from research firm IDC (News - Alert).

The report found that the small business VoIP market is growing considerably, with more than 30 percent of firms with 100-999 employees utilizing some type of VoIP technology. IDC believes that greater small business VoIP adoption rates can be achieved as vendors address certain flawed and inaccurate perceptions, such as VoIP providing poor call quality and being less secure and resilient.

IDC also found that more than one-third of small businesses – and nearly three-quarters of medium-sized businesses – currently utilize a minimum of one UC technology. These numbers should increase considerably in the near future as more than 30 percent of small organizations and 55 percent of midsize companies anticipate purchasing at least one UC-related system in the next year.

Ironically, the sluggish economy has helped increase the demand for certain UC technologies, including video conferencing, which a growing number of SMBs are using as an alternative to costly business travel. The firm found that around 45 percent of all midsized organizations currently use some form of video conferencing.

With all that said, very few companies have deployed what IDC refers to as a "comprehensive, end-to-end unified communications (UC) system." Companies are apparently embracing all the disparate parts, but only a select few have embraced a fully integrated UC system.

"SMBs are interested in both underlying capabilities and specific UC technologies," Justin Jaffe, a research manager at IDC, noted in a statement. "The real challenge for vendors is to effectively connect the benefits of unified communications to improved business performance. Show how UC can make a real difference in productivity and efficiency and SMBs will flock to it."

Although the remote workforce continues to grow exponentially, IDC found that unified messaging adoption rates still remain modest. However, many companies have expressed interest in making unified messaging part of their future plans.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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