Two thirds of UK businesses believe that IP telephony can help to improve customer relationships, a report published today by communications firm Mitel has claimed.
Companies with remote workers, branch offices and contact centres responding to the poll expected that their ability to deal with customers consistently and efficiently would be enhanced by converged video, voice and data communications.
The report indicated that over half of business decision-makers who are familiar with the term 'IP telephony' associate the technology with video conferencing and surveillance, while 93 per cent associate it with sending voice calls and data over the internet.
Over two thirds believe that it improves access to mobile or remote communication, 85 per cent believe it offers a broad range of communications channels, and 55 per cent that it helps to reduce costs.
Graham Bevington, EMEA managing director at Mitel, said: "We expect to see a sharp upturn in the adoption of IP telephony as businesses embrace the technology's business benefits.
"Our research shows that users who understand the technology are overwhelmingly positive about the commercial, operational and cost benefits that IP migration can offer."
Industry analysts agree that IP telephony will be a key growth area over the next decade.
Steve Brazier, chief executive at Canalys, said: "Over the next five years the telephony industry will witness an extraordinary change in business models, reminiscent of that seen by the computer industry in the early 1990s.
"Networked PCs rose quickly to replace mini-computers, driven by industry standards, lower costs and the availability of shrink-wrapped applications.
"Enterprise telephony has entered the first phase of a similar move towards standards, based around Session Initiation Protocol, Power over Ethernet and IP. Adoption will be driven increasingly by the desire to integrate voice services into data applications."
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