BT today announced a major update to BT One, its unified communications portfolio, including new cloud-based services designed to improve management effectiveness and collaboration within and between large organisations.
The BT One portfolio has been updated and a range of new services have been launched to address the findings of a global BT survey involving 1,000 executives working in large enterprises across the main industry sectors all around the world. This exclusive survey uncovers new attitudinal and behavioural factors, as well as impacts, linked to changes in the working cultures and to the roles of influential groups within the workforce.
The survey shows for example that the rate of adoption of unified communications is higher in the growing economies in Asia and Latin America than it is in the challenged economies of Europe. It also shows a potential link between management effectiveness and the faster decision making processes allowed by technology. The survey shows that younger executives gain a competitive advantage within the organisation by being most eager to leverage the potential of unified communications.
Executives globally say it is taking too much time, effort and money to collaborate, access data and work as a team. And 56 per cent of executives say slow decision-making by managers and colleagues is the biggest problem they face at work.
BT’s survey shows that executives feel they are wasting up to 25 per cent of their time every day due to poor communication, collaboration and information flows, as well as basic administration tasks. They also feel frustrated by their IT departments, with 48 per cent saying they don’t keep up to date with new technology. As a result, executives are starting to ‘go behind the back of IT’ to use open platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to collaborate, potentially putting corporate security policies at risk.
The findings of the survey show a growing appetite for unified communications globally, with conference calls, – audio and video – becoming almost as ubiquitous as formal meetings. For example, 58 per cent of directors and general managers make on average more than one video call per week.
The BT survey clearly shows that executives are demanding more unified communications, with 84 per cent stating that, together, instant messaging, e-mail, phone, video and telepresence help them be more successful. They want solutions such as desktop sharing, unified messaging, video, voice-to-text services and secure cloud storage.
The BT One portfolio has now been updated to answer to these demands with a single unified communications framework for devices, legacy systems and one global network for all global users. New pricing models for cloud-based services and global support by BT Advise professional services specialists are also made available to customers, to help them progress to genuine unified communications environments, whatever legacy systems they might be currently using.
New services are being introduced, such as:
One Cloud Lync: a cloud service based on Microsoft Lync, it integrates in a single platform a company’s email with instant messenger (IM), audio, device based video, screen sharing, and interactive white boarding. And the “presence” feature shows when someone’s free or in a meeting. The solution saves time because of the unified experience in a single interface, so employees and executives can be more productive and feel much more connected. One Cloud Lync is scalable and reliable and can be integrated seamlessly with existing infrastructure.
One Voice anywhere: a new smartphone app and web client to help dramatically reduce mobile costs with employees who travel internationally. The solution allows customers to achieve up to 45 per cent savings on total mobile roaming costs by shrinking high and unpredictable roaming charges. One Voice anywhere gives users the ability to make outbound calls from any device – and have that device treated as part of the customers’ One Voice service.
One Enterprise Cisco: an “on-site” solution based on Cisco UC9, a powerful upgrade to the Cisco unified communications platform. The solution can cut server costs by up to 66 per cent. while expanding video endpoint support, improving the quality of video calls, and making it easier to reach out through “dial by email.”
One Collaborate video: new high definition video endpoints that bring immersive face-to-face interaction to the desktop. One Collaborate video makes direct collaboration more intuitive, more efficient and more user friendly. The new secure HD systems allow end users to move from individual work on a laptop to a quick high quality video call and to share documents in real time.
One Collaborate: BT is joining forces with Dolby Laboratories on a technology trial based on the BT MeetMe service and aimed at radically enhancing the customer experience for users of our One Collaborate conferencing solutions. The objective is to deliver a clear, crisp, more natural audio meeting experience for businesses, making them sound and feel like in-person meetings. The Dolby Voice experience promises to improve productivity in meetings by enabling all participants to engage in the conversation.
Sandra O’Boyle, Service Director at Current Analysis, said: “BT’s IP telephony and unified communications services, marketed under the ‘BT One’ banner, are threatening in the global enterprise market, because BT can offer a full range of services, including One Voice VPN; audio, video and Web conferencing; PSTN; SIP and UC services. BT is also a leader in providing telepresence high-definition video conferencing services across key vendors, claiming an impressive 25,000 endpoints registered with its global video exchanges. Outside of a solid network and reach, the core strength of BT’s UC proposition is its experience working with key vendors, such as Cisco, Avaya and Microsoft, and its ability to combine with its own intellectual property to provide differentiation.”
Luis Alvarez, newly appointed CEO of BT Global Services, said: “To be successful in this economic environment, it is paramount for business leaders to make better decisions faster. While some might feel more comfortable with face-to-face interactions, it is becoming very clear that a competitive advantage is at hand for those who grasp the full gamut of today’s and tomorrow’s communications channels. It is not just a case of buying a device or a piece of software, it is about making sure that existing investments are federated and about bringing all the tools and channels together in an effective and secure way that saves time and money.
“Our vision is to make communications simpler, helping organisations transform the way they collaborate internally and the way they interact with their customers, partners and suppliers
“This is something that BT is very well placed to do, as we work closely with the best technology suppliers and invest in new capabilities. Customers reap competitive advantages from innovative “pay-as-you-go” pricing schemes and from the breadth and depth of our global network, as well as from the know-how of our professional services specialists based all around the world.”