Small and medium-sized businesses are rapidly adopting VoIP technologies, indicated by the fact that long-distance call volume for SMBs is on the rise, and total telecom spending is expected to continually decrease.
For the increasing number of mobile connected employees, VoIP applications offer the ability to collaborate with team members, stay connected with customers, vendors and coworkers in real time - regardless of geographical location.
For example, SMBs in the emerging markets such as China, India and Russia spent already $19.4 million on VoIP in 2003, and they are expected to spend over $200 million in 2008
(Source: AMI Partners).
VoIP tools like Skype give small businesses a market advantage against larger competitors by lowering operating costs and increasing productivity with voice calls, instant conference calling, group chat, file-transfer, free toll-free calling and the recently released Skype Toolbars, which let callers make one-click calls to phone numbers directly from within Windows Outlook and Internet Explorer (Skype is available for PCs, Macs, Linux and PocketPC).
But here is more interesting data coming from Skype internal research labs:
According to internal research done by Skype, approximately 30% of the existing 61 million Skype registered users rely on Skype for business purposes.
From a recent survey of beta users, Skype also found out that small businesses in a variety of industries would be very open to using Skype and its bundled free services to lower their operating costs. Of these, 25 percent are in the software and services sector, 11 in business services and eight are involved in technology hardware and equipment.
This research found that 63 percent of users surveyed are using Skype to conduct business abroad, while 52 percent are also using Skype across regional offices and 46 percent are using Skype to conduct conference calls.
The same survey also discovered that 40 percent of respondents don't have a standard PBX phone system.
The research demonstrated the cost efficiencies reached as businesses save with a successful and free VoIP technology such as Skype when conducting business abroad, making conference calls and communicating with regional offices extremely cost-effective.
If you are not yet aware of it, Skype is free and easy to use Internet-based telephone system, that allows anyone, on any type of computer to hold multi-party conferences, text chat, send large files, and call traditional phone numbers at very low rates.