The worldwide SME market for VoIP technology is set to increase by 500 per cent in the next two years, according to a new report.Figures published by consultancy firm the Yankee Group, predict that the total market for SME VoIP services will reach $1 billion (£512 million) by 2009. This represents a five-fold increase compared to current levels.In recent years, the availability of cheap broadband connections has meant SMEs can increase their international presence through the internet. However, the expense of long-distance calls has meant that foreign business has often been impersonal or prohibitively expensive.Now, as VoIP technology becomes more reliable and cheaper, SMEs will use it to facilitate international trade, according to the report."VoIP products for SMEs must be easy-to-use and affordable, while offering the features and quality expected in traditional phone systems and an added layer of security to protect critical business resources," explained Fred Zimmerman, executive director at Texas Instruments, a company providing VoIP solutions."We see SMEs at the heart of VoIP's future and work closely with our customers, service providers and third parties to develop the products that best meet the demands of SMEs while offering valuable features and performance."Recent research has also suggested that SMEs believe VoIP technology could make their business more efficient.The data gathered by ShoreTel found that four-fifths of SMEs believed their productivity could be improved by VoIP systems.© Adfero Ltd