Business continuity company ICM, has launched a new version of its Emergency Office product incorporating telephony for the first time.

Emergency Office, which turns any PC, or tablet into a virtualised version of an employee's corporate desktop, has been designed to help staff members who are not being transferred to one of ICM workarea recovery centres to stay connected.

Mike Osborne, ICM's managing director, said that the company provided such areas for employees who needed a workspace to get connected quickly after some form of business disruption. But, he pointed out that many non-business-crictical staff could be left high and dry by this approach. "Research has found that only about 25 to 35 percent of staff are absolutely business critical and need to be connected straight away. The problem is what to do with the rest – you can't even connect through mobile phones as there'll be staff members who don't have mobile access."

Emergency Office, which was released last year, addressed this particular challenge but, as Osborne explained, there was some functionality missing. "The biggest problem was telephony, we didn't have this, nor did we have Mac support. We've now introduced telephony via a VoIP service that allows employees to get connected. To get through to someone, all the employee has to do is dial the extension as per normal -the 70 percent of employees working from home can now be brought into the system."

The product has been designed to be as easy to use as possible and to protect the customer's corporate environment, offers a "sandbox" facility which reduces the risk of malware being introduced into the infrastructure.

Osborne said that the typical customer was an organisation with between 1200 to 1500 employees. He said that the product was charged at £100 per year per seat for a syndicated service and £300 for a dedicated one.