There’s no argument that voice communication plays a big role in business. While email, instant messaging, and social media have changed the way businesses communicate, most businesses depend on some form of phone infrastructure. Despite this, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have little understanding of current trends in the business phone system industry.

A survey by Allworx Corp and Hanover Research measured the state of SMB awareness in business phone trends. The survey included 427 U.S. businesses with 5 - 499 employees across 22 vertical industries. Allworx found that 74% of SMBs see voice communication as important to their success of their business, but only a fraction are familiar with commonly used telecom terminology. 68% are aware of trends in VoIP, 27% with IP telephony, and only 10% with unified communications. 25% of the businesses surveyed aren't even sure how their voice service is being delivered.

Unlike a traditional phone system, SIP trunking lets you scale based on your needs. Voice traffic shares the same line as data traffic, eliminating the need to build out a separate network. Moving to a SIP trunk gives you greater control and reliability while reducing costs by up to 50%.

However, this doesn't mean SMBs aren't aware of potential improvements to their current phone systems. Nearly half are open to evaluating a new system, with 86% of those SMBs planning to evaluate a new system within the next 3 years. Most of the motivation to upgrade stems from replacing old or outdated equipment, high costs associated with existing services, and the need for specific features that can’t be easily implemented in the current system. Some of the most commonly desired features - mobile and remote desk phones, music-on-hold, 3-way calling, and attaching voicemail messages to emails - have been available for some time. SMBs just need to know how to implement them.

With such a large percentage of SMBs eager to embrace new trends in voice communications, why is there such a large gap in understanding? Unlike larger businesses, many SMBs don't have the resources to dedicate to following telecom trends. More often than not, these businesses lack dedicated technical staff capable of working closely with providers. What’s needed is a way to bridge the knowledge gap between providers and the businesses that want to implement their services.

Based on this study, business telecom providers have a unique opportunity to work with SMBs. Giving SMBs the tools they need to improve voice communication will "increase efficiency, boost productivity, and [allow them to] do more with less,” says Allworx vice president and general manager Chris Hasenauer. As SMBs learn more about the technology available to them, they can work with providers to implement a solution that benefits everyone.

Summary Outline:

  • Small businesses rely on telecoms without understanding how they work

  • Low awareness of terms like IP telephony (27%), IP PBX (20%), and SIP trunks (11%)

  • 74% of SMBs find voice comms very or extremely important to business

  • However, there is a desire for small businesses to learn more about VoIP

  • SMBs want features that are already available

  • Top-3 are voicemails as email attachments, remote desk phones, and music-on-hold

  • 86% plan to evaluate a new business phone system within the next 3 years

  • Increase awareness among SMBs


  • 427 capital equipment purchase decision makers/influencers at U.S. businesses with 5-499 employees across 22 vertical industries (Nasdaq)

  • Small-medium businesses are often unfamiliar with telecom terminology

  • Despite this, 47% are likely to evaluate a new phone system

  • 86% within the next 3 years

  • Many want features that are already available (voice messages as email attachments, remote desk phones, mobile clients for desk phones)


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