The use of mobile voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phones will grow dramatically in the next two years, but many IT chiefs may be left struggling to cope with the management challenges this poses.

A survey of executives has revealed that 27 percent worked for businesses that already used mobile VoIP phones and 70 percent said they expected their companies to be regularly using the devices within two years.

The research, by Coleman Parkes on behalf of mobile device management vendor Mformation, questioned 200 chief information officers from among the five hundred largest businesses in the UK, Europe and the US.

The survey highlighted the productivity improvements achieved by deploying mobile technology,with 81 percent of those surveyed reporting significant benefits from current mobile deployments and almost a third of CIOs reporting productivity gains of 20 percent or more.

As mobile devices move from the board room to the rest of the workforce, these productivity gains are set to soar but,said Matt Bancroft, vice president, Mformation,. “This raises an interesting challenge for CIOs in terms of management.

“While IT departments have the solutions in place to manage business applications that reside on laptops or PCs, doing this on mobile handsets presents a far greater challenge; for example, they’ll need to start thinking about how to deploy applications, patches and updates over the air.”

Management of smart phones and mobile devices is high CIO and IT managers’ list of concerns, with 82% believing that the ability to manage devices more effectively is critical to delivering higher productivity.

Importantly, 79 percent of those questioned believed that responsibility for device management should not be left at the door of the IT department and wanted the operator to deliver improved network and device management.

Recent research has also found that most UK firms see the increased uptake in VoIP phones as a security concern.