SMBs Living Large with Unified Communications

The benefits to SMBs of UC -- and its telepresence element -- don't differ conceptually from enterprises. There is an additional advantage for small companies, however: While enterprises already have big profiles, UC can help the SMBs seem, and act, bigger than they are.

By Carl Weinschenk | Posted Jan 14, 2011
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One of the great advantages of IP-based telecommunications, from the point of view of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), is that it can make them seem more like enterprises. This capability was originally evident as VoIP grew more sophisticated.

This capability is especially seen in telepresence. It's obvious that individual video is becoming far more common. Customers, partners, vendors and employees expect video -- and SMBs better provide it. In this piece, VoIP Planet's Ted Stevenson provides a rundown on four telepresence systems that he suggests are good bets for SMBs. They are Vu from TelePresence, Kalisto from Damaka, VuRoom from ViVu VuRoom, and Expresso from XVD Technology.

It can be argued that the SMB sector is the big beneficiary of telepresence and the more expansive world of unified communications. Mae Kowalke at TMCnet provides a nice encapsulation of a Frost & Sullivan white paper that explores the benefits of UC for SMBs. The firm sees advantages that seem transformational. Writes Kowalke: 

UC, Frost & Sullivan posits, can help SMBs manage or overcome the top challenges that may be limiting growth or competitiveness: constant pressure on key employees, an owner who needs to be everywhere, multi-functional job roles, intense competition for customers, and limited IT and telecom expertise.

The entire piece is worth reading. The bottom line seems to be that the advantages that UC brings SMBs are no different in the abstract than what it brings to enterprises. What is different is that SMBs historically are harder pressed on time, manpower, disposable budget and just about everything else. Thus, those advantages are felt more acutely and can make a bigger impact.

The perfect match of UC and SMBs isn't lost either on end users or those who can make money serving them. SMBs are more likely to use hosted and cloud-based SMB services than enterprises. Companies such as Aspect Software – which introduced a contact center SMB product last month – are focusing on the segment.

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