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Enterprise VoIP Use Rocketed 46% In 2004: Report

Enterprise adoption of voice over IP (VoIP) spending was up 46% last year, according to a new study released by Infonetics Research yesterday, as resistance to the technology among small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) has begun to fade.

In "User Plans for IP Voice, North America 2005," Infonetics directing analyst Matthias Machowinski notes that 29% of large, 16% of medium, and 4% of small enterprises in North America will have adopted VoIP by the and of this year. Although the growth rates are nowhere near as dramatic as the expected revenue surge in managed VoIP services noted in a related Infonetics study, the firm says enterprise adoption is nevertheless "on track." On average, the 240 small, medium and large enterprises surveyed plan to increase their spending an additional 9% in 2005.

Nevertheless, Machowinski says that there is some disparity between large enterprise and SMB enthusiasm for the technology. ""There's no denying IP voice is the future, but given all the hype generated over the last year, it's important to keep things in perspective," said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst at Infonetics Research and author of the study. "Although large organizations are adopting IP voice at a decent rate, adoption among small and medium-size organizations is pretty low. But the good news is that awareness of available IP voice products and services has increased among purchase-decision makers."

The principal factors driving interest in VoIP adoption are its perceived flexibility, ease of use and manageability and the potential reductions in operational costs. However initial deployment costs and the belief that current time division multiplexing (TDM) technologies are perfectly adequate continue to be a barrier to VoIP adoption. Nevertheless, Infonetics expects TDM private branch exchange (PBX) use to decline at headquarter 29% today to 8% in 2007. In these applications, respondents favored hybrid PBXes, with 30% using them now, and 58% expected to by 2007.