BT and Cisco have announced the launch of a global cloud-based Internet protocol telephony (IPT) solution from BT's Onevoice unified communications and collaboration (UCC) portfolio.
Both companies have previously worked together and are now furthering this relationship through the launch of a scalable, business-grade, global hosted IPT service. BT and Cisco are together building the underlying virtualised infrastructure for service delivery that will aid businesses to significantly lower upfront investment costs.
The new IPT solution will also accelerate the adoption of UC on a global scale.
Per-user pricing model
This is the world's first global offering based on Cisco-hosted UC services as the platform for collaborative voice communications. BT and Cisco's cloud computing-based technologies will allow businesses to bring converged voice, mobile and data services to PCs in their organisation.
Businesses will be able to use their IP telephony, voice mail, conferencing and unified messaging technologies on a utility-based, per-user pricing model. This will be a welcome change for companies that are struggling to manage their capital expenditure in the ongoing economic crisis.
Currently, this hosted IPT service from BT is available only in the UK but the partners plan on launching it in the United States, and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) next year. These services will then be made available to customers in the Asia Pacific.
Delivered through the cloud
Commenting on the new agreement, Chris Dedicoat, president of Cisco Europe, said the deal has resulted in a transformational unified communications solution delivered through the cloud. He added that this affordable new hosted offering will help accelerate the combined ability to bring the benefits of UC to more customers across the world.
Chris Barnard, European telecommunications and networking research director at analyst firm IDC noted that the current business environment is favourable for hosted IP telephony.
He expects the service to attract several customers as it is based on an operating expenditure model offering flexibility, low risk, and cost control to users. These factors are especially sought by companies with an uncertain future.
The new service is already being used by the National Health Service's national broadband network, N3. UK-based N3 is using BT Hosted IPT technology to provide free on-network calls and considerably cheaper mobile phone connections between medical sites.
"Businesses today typically have multiple, fragmented, disparate IT and telephony infrastructures that restrict effective communication," said Neil Sutton, vice president, global portfolio, BT Global Services. "BT and Cisco's collaboration on this innovative, cloud-based unified communications system will help businesses reduce capital expenditure in this difficult time, while giving them the ability to introduce productivity enhancing tools."