BT Business has launched an IP platform-based package, known as "Communications Complete," designed to offer a unified communications (UC) package for the small business sector.
The UK carrier is offering the system in conjunction with Cisco, and it uses the Cisco UC500 routing platform as the starting point for any ‘Communications Complete’ system. This platform is effectively the hub through which all the communications can operate. It manages phone calls, voice mail, instant messaging, video, contacts etc.
"The UC500 is the starting point, and then we built products and services around that," said Nick Malyon, marketing manager at BT business. "We trying to understand the customer's needs from day one, and then add bits as they need it."
BT does the system setup and configuration, and offers a 24/7 helpdesk for support purposes. The system includes IP phones, mobile handsets, broadband line, email, and cabling etc.
"We don't just give them the bits, we configure it for them as well as most small business don’t have IT or communications expertise," said Malyon.
"Our platform has 48 ports, but typically we are aiming at businesses between 20 to 40 employees who are looking for a unified communications system but don’t have the skills to set it or run it," he added.
"Customers often have a number of systems providing these systems, but they don't all work together necessarily," said Malyon. "When it works together, then you see the benefits."
The system caters for home workers as well. Permanent home-based workers are connected to the office via a broadband line, and they are given an IP phone and a telephone extension that makes it seems that they are in the office, from a data and telephony perspective. Workers who sometimes work off site, such as salesmen, are given a soft phone client for their laptops.
A recent survey from BT and Cisco found that 85 percent of businesses admitted that they lose out to bigger competitors. BT believes that the importance of agility in today’s business environment is getting though to SME companies, with 85 percent agreeing that their business needs to be more agile.
There are no readily-available pricing details though for the new UC package. "It is a bespoke solution," a BT spokeswoman told Techworld, "but it costs less than an average cup of coffee per day. This would roughly translate into a cost of less than £1 per user, per day."
A three year, zero percent finance plan, is also available.