According to several hosted IP telephony providers the telephony switching and application needs of the 25 – 50 user market are increasingly being met by their solutions
Lesley Hansen at Teleware for example expects this trend to continue with increased pace in 2007/8.
“A hosted solution avoids the risks of obsolescence and of outgrowing the telephone system while providing an OPEX based solution with no initial start up capital expenditure requirements. In addition the small business is provided with a breadth of applications and a resilient architecture that was only previously available to the larger business.
The 25 – 50 user market is still today typically provided solutions specified by trusted advisers which could be small IT and telecom resellers such as HashNine Managed Communications and Touchdown Offices. Based in Caterham in Surrey, HashNine offer a range of hosted business telephony services aimed at SME customers using software technology from TeleWare as Angela Jha, HashNine Marketing Director explains, “Voice over IP has generated a lot of exposure but many of the customers we approach assume it’s only for very large organisations or that it will require a large initial capital expenditure to get it off the ground.”
Trefor Davis at Timico adds that his VoIP service is a hosted SIP PBX platform which this year is seeing considerable take up in the 25 – 50 user market.
“We are finding businesses of this size have a real need to communications with homeworkers/road warriors and are also likely to have at least one branch office. This being the case the video conferencing and presence based instant messaging applications that come free with the service are generating a lot of interest as significant productivity increasing tools as well as cost savings.
Because of this a lot of interest is being generated in the channel who can now position themselves as organizations bringing in new benefits to their customers that were previously unavailable to businesses in the SME market.”
Meanwhile, Rob Mackinnon, Product Manager for ZyXEL, says most businesses have been following VoIP with a degree of uncertainty.
“However, with recent improvements in quality and security, the adoption of business VoIP looks set to grow. With a comprehensive range of products now on the market, hosted IP telephony is beginning to pay dividends for SMBs and resellers alike. A hosted solution affords SMBs with a high degree of flexibility in how they upgrade from their current legacy system and deploy an IP solution with the minimum of fuss and financial outlay.
With no upfront investments to protect, customers can be eased through the transition from analogue to IP by resellers. This will inevitably unlock new revenue streams enabled by IP telephony, such as video, presence and click-to-talk for resellers.”