SMEs increase use of conference and video calls

Many more European small businesses will invest in new technology such as conference calling (CC) and video conferencing (VC) before the year is out, according to research.

A survey commissioned by voice over IP (VoIP) software and service provider Skype has revealed more than half of SMEs are planning to increase the integration of CC and VC in the next 12 months.

It said that two thirds of companies already used conference calling while another 40 per cent saw the potential for putting it in the business.

"It is all about the fact that technology is now available," said Skype business product development manager Wilheim Lundborg.

"It has previously been expensive, difficult to manage as well as difficult to acquire and install."

The results also indicated that although video conferencing was relatively new, more than 40 per cent of SMEs saw its business potential. Small businesses now had access to technology such as quality video cameras and microphones, which were previously out of reach.

"A video call had previously needed very expensive equipment as well as an IT consultant to come to your location and set up all the different servers and hardware," said Lundborg, who claimed that Skype could now set up a video call in a matter of minutes.

The research suggested small businesses were now embracing CC and VC both internally as well as with outside customers.

Lundborg said: "This is a big step for small businesses. Bigger enterprises have had video conferencing equipment for years now, but for them this is completely new way of communication."