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Home Office Worker Needs Going Unmet

According to the latest Forrester Research study, economic, social, and technological trends give consumers and their employers the incentives and the applications that they need to opt for working at home. However, consumers who work from home have telecom needs that extend beyond the requirements of the average residential user.

Rather than commuting to a central office every day, 9 percent of North American consumers telecommute from home for an external employer, and 22.8 million run a business out of their home.

The typical consumer has a growing bandwidth need -- for watching video online, downloading music, or playing games -- and wants a phone line that works, but the home worker's expectations are even more stringent. Specifically, the home office worker needs include:

More bandwidth, both downstream and upstream -- For both telecommuters and home-based business owners, bandwidth is important. Consumers who work at home require downstream bandwidth for downloading large email attachments; upstream bandwidth allows telecommuters to more quickly transfer multi-megabit files.

Guarantees about latency and downtime -- Although it's an annoyance, the average residential consumer can put up with the occasional slow period or service interruption on her home broadband or voice lines. Heavy traffic and service outages, however, have a different impact on the home worker.

Robust customer care -- Because voice and data interruptions have such a large impact on home workers, these consumers need more responsive customer service. In the event of a technical problem, home workers need immediate and exact service that allows them to get their business back up and running as quickly as possible.

Increased security to protect business information -- As members of the general public, telecommuters and home-based business owners will have security concerns about using the Internet. But home workers must concern themselves with both the security of their personal data and their business data, including tax ID numbers, proprietary intellectual property, or confidential inside information.

A tool kit aimed at making small, home-based businesses grow -- Consumers who run a small business from their home do not want small-time telecommunications services. They will instead look for services that provide a competitive edge via a business look and feel. Services like Web hosting and multi-line (and multi-voicemail) IP voice with PBX-like features allow small, home-based businesses to project a big-business image.

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