BT has launched a number of offerings to improve business continuity in adverse circumstances. These can include major disasters such as fire, flood or acts of terrorism but also transport disruption caused by poor weather conditions - that, in the UK, can mean a light dusting of snow of course.

Among the new offers, BT has launched an enhancement to its Next Generation Contact Centre (NGCC) service. As part of the service, called BT NGCC Protect, businesses can protect themselves against future disasters, configuring systems so that agents can work from home, or other remote locations, if they can't make it into the office.

"It's almost like an insurance policy," said Andrew Small, BT's head of CRM. "If a customer already has Next Generation Contact Centre and the agents are taken out of action, you can move the application to exactly the same people, working from home or from a small branch office." He said that the service didn't require any major upgrade of equipment to encompass home agents, although they did have to have broadband and be a BT customer.

Using the product, call centre agents will be able to access unified communications features, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools quickly over the network.

Small said that there were two ways of working: companies could buy into the service as if it were an insurance policy and have it available when the emergency warranted it or they could buy the service to cope with a major disruption. Small said the both ways would require a set-up charge, with the latter costing from £100 a agent a month, while the stand-by mode would cost from £60 per agent per month and then pay by agent when the service kicked in.