FAZIT Company Survey in Baden-Württemberg – Voice over IP Catching up with Conventional Telephone TechnologyResearch
In Baden-Württemberg, 12 per cent of the companies in the IT and media sector, and selected user branches of information and media technology telephone via the Internet (Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)). 18 per cent intend to install VoIP in the coming twelve months.
In the IT and media sector, Internet telephony is more frequently employed than in user branches. Displaying a share of VoIP users of 29 per cent, the software sector ranks first. Another 36 per cent of software companies plan to install this technology in the coming year. Transport providers bring up the rear. In this user branch, merely 0.7 per cent of the companies employ VoIP, and 4.5 per cent intent to install it in the coming twelve months. These are the findings of the second representative FAZIT Company Survey conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, in autumn 2005 in Baden-Württemberg.
The companies in Baden-Württemberg assess the further development of Internet telephony as positive. Across all branches, 44 per cent of the companies assume that VoIP will replace conventional telephone technology in the medium to long-term. This estimation is far more frequent in the IT and media sector (56 per cent) than in user branches (35 per cent). However, almost 38 per cent of all interviewed companies did not see themselves in the position to give an assessment. This indicates that many enterprises are not yet sufficiently informed about the possibilities and limitations of this new technology. That is why they rather refrain from giving an assessment.
As part of the survey, ZEW asked 1,200 Baden-Württemberg companies of the IT and media sector (software, DP services, IT and media hardware, telecommunications, audio-visual media, print and publishing, advertising, market communication and content service providers) and other branches using IT and media technology (chemistry, mechanical engineering, manufacture of medical, precision and optical instruments, automobile, transport, banking and insurance industry, research and development as well as technical service providers). FAZIT is a research project on current, forward-looking information and media technology, and their use in in Baden-Württemberg. It is funded by the Federal State of Baden Württembergas part of the programme Zukunftsoffensive III and realised by MFG Stiftung Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, in collaboration with ZEW and Fraunhofer-ISI, Karlsruhe.
Internet telephony (Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP) makes it possible to telephone using the infrastructure of the Internet. The potential to reduce costs constitutes a significant advantage over conventional telephone technology. Internet users running the corresponding programs (such as Skype) are able to telephone without paying any additional fees. Thanks to the integration of different networks, it is even possible to make affordable calls to fixed and mobile networks via the Internet and vice versa. Apart from potential cost savings, however, VoIP entails increased security risks. It is easier for outside observes to spy on the contents of a discussion. Furthermore, so-called "spits" (spam over Internet telephony), similar to spam e-mails, may emerge.