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UK behind US and Europe in VoIP and data network use

The UK is lagging behind most other European countries and the US in its adoption of IP telephony and the use of single, integrated data and IP telephony networks, according to new research by Datamonitor.

The research, commissioned by IT services company Dimension Data, included 390 IT managers and 524 end users across 13 countries in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

The survey shows 60% of US companies polled use voice over IP (VoIP), compared with 33% in the UK, and 53% of US companies use the same network for IP telephony and data, compared with 28% in the UK.

In adoption of IP telephony, the UK also lags behind Benelux countries (44%), Austrialia (40%), and France (35%). The UK is on a par with Germany at 33%, but ahead of only Switzerland (28%) in Europe, Asia (28%), and the Middle East and Africa (13%).

In single network integration, the UK lags behind Benelux countries (42%), Australia (35%), France (30%), Switzerland (30%), and Asia (29%). The only European country behind the UK is Germany with 23%, which was the same as companies surveyed in the Middle East and Africa.

Steve Blood, research vice-president at Gartner, said it is not surprising that the US leads in the VoIP market because much of the technology comes from the US, where adoption was largely driven by toll bypass and poor-quality indoor mobile phone services.

Mike Robinson, converged communications manager at Dimension Data, agreed that market conditions in the UK were different, but said UK companies still lagged other European countries in the adoption of unified communication technologies. He said this was mainly because UK companies tend to look at cost reduction and productivity gain only when investing in new technology, rather than as a business enabler.

Robinson warned that UK companies risked missing out on the business opportunities that integrated, IP-based networks will bring through greater alignment between business strategies and IT with the increasing introduction of IP-based applications and services. He said easier integration between IP-based technologies was key to deriving maximum business value from unified communications.

Companies in the US and other European countries are adopting a wider set of unified communication technologies, said Robinson. Consequently, they would be in a better position to reap the benefits of greater business agility and more flexible working than UK companies, which tended to adopt new technology in "bite-sized chunks".


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