BT and Cisco have launched a global unified communications "cloud". The companies claim that the new service, based on  BT's Onevoice UCC portfolio, will allow businesses to reduce upfront investment costs whilst accelerating the adoption of UC on a global scale.

According to the company, the hosted IP telephony service represents the world's first global offering based on Cisco Hosted UC services as the platform for collaborative voice communications. Companies that are tightly managing their capital expenditure will be able to take a first step into converged communications by consuming their IP telephony, voicemail, conferencing and unified messaging technologies on a utility-based, per-user pricing model.

Available now in the UK, the hosted IPT service from BT will also be available to businesses in the US and EMEA in 2010 followed by Asia Pacific. Neil Sutton, vice president, global portfolio, BT Global Services, said: "Businesses today typically have multiple, fragmented, disparate IT and telephony infrastructures that restrict effective communication. 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."

Chris Dedicoat, president of Cisco Europe, said: "Cisco and BT are deepening our established collaboration today to introduce a transformational unified communications solution delivered through the cloud at a compelling price point. We believe this new hosted offering will help accelerate our combined ability to bring the benefits of unified communications to more customers globally."