I didn’t plan to let a month go by before sharing Part II of the survey I conducted on the use of Unified Communications  (UC) by small and medium businesses. However, I took a fall on the red carpet. Before you conjure up images of me rubbing shoulders with George Clooney, I need to confess it wasn’t THE Red Carpet; it’s a red carpet in our house. I dislocated my right shoulder and and yes, I’m right-handed.

I’m almost healed now and ready to get back on track and share more results of my survey of 250 small and medium businesses among the Spiceworks IT Pro Community. In Part I of the survey,  I reported that some 51 percent of respondents indicated they are well on their way to UC adoption.  Their employees are  enhancing and easing communications by connecting on different devices, apps and communications systems.  Also conferencing is becoming more and integral to ‘taking care of business.’ Web, video and softphone (Skype being the best example) are gaining traction to support mobility and the growing trend in remote working.

Survey results part II

Survey participants cited mobility and remote access to other individuals as the top two benefits of UC.  But there are more.  UC is considered beneficial among the SMBs because it reduces lag time in getting work done, improves customer service and facilitates collaboration. As a matter of fact, 56% said they have an increasing need for collaboration solutions.  UC also boosts satisfaction among employees because it helps them be more productive.

And to what extent are employees using smartphones and tablets for work? The survey indicated that 88 percent of employees use smartphones and 60 percent use tablets – and watch that latter figure go up.  Market researcher Forrester is predicting that by 2016, one third of all adults in the U.S. will own a tablet. It’s no wonder that Instat, another market research firm, forecasts that this year wireless will become the largest category of SMB telecomm spending.

IP telephony (using desk phones) still is the number one application – nearly 50 percent –  for which companies provide employees headsets.  Next is  multimedia — anything from video to podcasts to training.  However in support of growing UC conferencing applications and the need for high quality audio, companies are purchasing their employees headsets for web and video conferencing and soft phone calls.  And, for those using headsets with smartphones and tablets, 57 percent provide their employees with bluetooth or corded headsets vs. making them fend for themselves.

Are you starting to see UC applications kicking it up in your company?