An incisive study from Windstream’s Allworx Corp. reveals that most small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) “have low awareness of the technology trends in business phone systems and most are not utilizing advanced phone features that are widely available today.”

Commissioned by Allworx, Hanover Research surveyed 427 capital equipment purchase decision makers or “influencers” working for U.S. businesses employing 5-499 people across 22 industry verticals. Among its key findings, Hanover’s research revealed that “the vast majority of SMBs are unfamiliar with telecommunications terminology such as IP telephony, hosted PBX, IP PBX, virtual PBX, SIP trunks or Unified Communications.”

Survey of SMB Telecom Buyers
The survey results are surprising given the extent to which communications technology has been advancing, and the extent to which it is vital to the viability of businesses of all sizes.

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Other key takeaways include:

  • Despite the rise of email, video, and social media, 74 percent said that voice communication remains extremely or very important to their business operations;
  • The top five phone features used most by SMBs are: 3-way calling (60 percent), intercom (42 percent), conference call bridges (41 percent), music on hold (40 percent) and calling other locations using extensions (37 percent);
  • The top five most desired phone features by SMBs are: voicemail as email attachments (38 percent), remote desk phones (25 percent), music on hold (25 percent), 3-way calling (24 percent), and mobile client for the desk phone (24 percent);
  • Nearly one in two SMBs plan to evaluate a new business phone system in the near future – with 86 percent of them planning to do so within the next three years. Sixty-four percent of them cited old or outdated voice equipment as the primary reason.

“Twenty years into the advent of the VoIP technology, business phone systems have become more intelligent and capable than ever before. These results tell us that there is a real opportunity to help educate SMBs on how they can optimize their business phone systems to increase efficiency, boost productivity, and do more with less,” Allworx VP and General Manager Chris Hasenauer was quoted as saying.

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