BT unveils cloud-based One Phone

BT has launched a cloud product for SMEs and enterprises to merge desktop phones with employees' mobile phones.

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BT has launched a cloud product for SMEs and enterprises to merge desktop phones with employees' mobile phones.

The new release, which BT Business' chief executive Graham Sutherland described as the division's "flagship product", signals BT’s response to the increasingly mobile businesses in the UK that are not ready to remove landline numbers entirely.

The cloud-based phone system will eliminate the need for costly hardware and ongoing maintenance, the company said.

BT will build a dedicated indoor network around customers’ premises so that GSM (global system for mobile) or mobile net signal is always available while employees are in the office. Once they leave the building, they will automatically connect to the greater BT telephone network.

There is a switchboard functionality through a phone line portal, in which an admin can see which employees are available to talk no matter where they are. There is also the option to add other mobile workers into conference calls, which BT said will improve customer service and sales when it comes to answering customer queries while on the move.

UK-wide gym brand Better and Group Taxibus have trialled the phone service along with seven other SMEs, BT revealed today at the One Phone launch in the BT Tower this morning.

Since rolling out the service, Group Taxibus has cut the call diversion service it previously used, Paul Lawrence, Operations manager said: “BT One phone has saved us at least half on our quarterly phone bills.”

Many were expecting BT to use today’s launch to officially announce its attack on the 4G market with its upcoming EE partnership.

But Sutherland insisted that the One Phone Office and Professional products were the beginning of the company’s mobility strategy.

He revealed that BT will be launching its MVNO agreement with EE in the “next few weeks” and added that as well as increasing wifi hotspots and urban small cell development, there will be a consumer-facing service launch later in the year.

Security

The cloud-based phone system will be hosted in BT's data centre, encrypted and governed by user access codes.

BT is offering One Phone Office, which will take 12 weeks to deploy and offers an all over phone line system. The company will also offer a "stepping stone" service One Phone Professional, which will offer a plug-in option for companies sceptical about ripping out all desktop phones.

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