52pc of SME execs clueless over VoIP – O2

8 Jan 2007

Over half of the directors of Irish small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) don’t know what voice over IP (VoIP) is, according to a survey commissioned by O2 Ireland.

The TNS/MRBI survey of over 300 owner/directors of Irish companies also found that the use of laptop PCs by Irish SME directors has increased from 36pc in 2004 to 46pc today,

However, despite the increased investment in the mobile devices, the survey indicates that firms are failing to exploit the technology and make use of the latest mobile data communications devices like mobile data cards.

Just 8pc of respondents to the survey use 3G data cards and 54pc of respondents do not know what they are.

3G data cards have been available for more than two years but in 2007 the upgrade of the various networks to include HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) will see the speed of the cards increase from around 300Kbps up to over 3Mbps.

Mobile operator Vodafone launched its HSDPA service in November and currently has 5,000 users operating at speeds of 1.4Mbps.

O2 is currently investing €250m in its HSDPA rollout, which will be capable of handling peak rate speeds from 3.6Mbps up to 14.4Mbps. A spokesman told siliconrepublic.com that O2 will go live with its HSDPA offering in February with 55pc coverage at that point.

Hutchison Whampoa’s 3 Ireland will commence selling its HSDPA phones and data cards this month, which will be capable of wireless broadband speeds of 3.6Mbps.

The latest survey from O2 found that less than one in five of those surveyed had secure access to business documents when out of the office.

“Our study suggests that there is significant scope to boost business productivity in the SME sector,” commented Billy D’Arcy, head of business sales and services for O2 Ireland. “Use of 3G data cards means that executives can access the office server and email remotely as if they were sitting at their desk.

“The results of our survey have important lessons for those selling business technology and services,” D’Arcy continued. “For example, while there is a lot of talk about VoIP, a similar number, 52pc, of SME senior executives do not know what it is. Our study suggests that the industry needs to talk less jargon and more business benefits.”

By John Kennedy