IT shops slow to adopt VoIP

When it comes to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) adoption, 40 per cent of Canadian IT businesses say the primary driver to adoption is the potential cost savings from combining voice and data onto a unified infrastructure, according to a Network World Canada study, sponsored by Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd.’s ProCurve networking division.

But the survey also reveals that Canadian IT shops may have some reservations in fully embracing the technology. A total of 25 per cent of respondents said they have no interest in the emerging technology, while 19 per cent said they intend to leverage VoIP technology towards supporting new applications.

The Network World Canada survey, fielded in December and January, included responses from a total of 272 readers of the magazine. The survey included respondents from across Canada and from seven different vertical industries.

The obvious benefit of VoIP is the fact that both voice and fax data can traverse over a packet data network at the same time, leading to potential cost savings through integrated communication services. But businesses, the report found, still have concerns about VoIP technology. Of those polled, 144 respondents or 53 per cent, said they have concerns about VoIP’s quality of service, with 46 per cent worried about the overall quality of voice transmission over an IP network. Downtime risks associated with putting voice and data on one network was also an issue for 43 per cent of respondents. Other stated concerns included the hard costs associated with buying VoIP hardware and software expressed by 36 per cent of respondents, issues around security (33 per cent) and the apparent difficulty in measuring the return on VoIP investment (28 per cent).

The report also found that 26 per cent of those polled said they have already implemented VoIP within the organization, while 41 per cent said they currently have no plans to utilize the technology. But 10 per cent said they intend to implement VoIP within the next 12 months while an additional 12 per cent said they’d do likewise within the next 24 months.

When it comes to IP Centrex (a telecommunications service that enables enterprises to consolidate voice telephony and Internet technology on a single network) 44 per cent said that they were not sure whether they might use such services. Thirty-four per cent of respondents said they had no plans to use IP Centrex, while 16 per cent said they would consider the technology.

This doesn’t mean that VoIP is getting written off, however. A total of 32 per cent of those polled said they were looking carefully at the technology and assessing the benefits of VoIP to the needs of their business. A total of 29 per cent of respondents said they were specifically examining the overall business need for VoIP within the organization.

A total of 25 per cent of respondents said they’d spend more this year on VoIP than last year, while 31 per cent said that VoIP spending this year would be the same as last year.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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