BT has launched BT Corporate Fusion calling it ‘a ground breaking premise based fixed-mobile convergence service for large organisations’.
The new service will enable organisations to take advantage of fixed-mobile convergence and their increasing deployment of IP Telephony and WiFi coverage to potentially deliver greater productivity, the possibility of reduced GSM call costs and to result in improved quality of service to their customers.
The first customer to trial the service in the UK is Leeds City Council (LCC), the second largest local authority in the UK. The Council, which has the largest in-house ICT provision of any local authority, is piloting BT Corporate Fusion across two of its premises, in order to assess its capability to improve productivity and improve communications.
LCC employees involved in the trial will use a dual-mode mobile phone that incorporates both regular GSM and additional WiFi connectivity. Within LCC’s premises, calls made from these mobile phones are connected via WiFi access points and are routed over existing fixed-line infrastructure. Deploying WiFi access points across LCC’s premises ensures optimal in-building coverage. At present it is estimated that over 50% of employees’ mobile phone calls are made within offices¹ (despite the fact that cheaper fixed-line phones are readily available). The use of BT Corporate Fusion will allow LCC employees to continue using a mobile device, whilst at the same time allowing the Council to migrate these calls onto WiFi and potentially bring the cost down.
Outside the office the device works like a regular mobile phone, enjoying ubiquitous coverage and the benefits of global roaming on GSM.
Adrian Fegan, Head of ICT Operations at Leeds City Council said “Leeds City Council is a very active user of many types of technology because we believe that doing so allows us to serve the citizens of Leeds in the most effective manner possible. We see BT’s Corporate Fusion service as an extension of that approach, and an important part of our future overall voice strategy. It allows us to operate more efficiently, by reducing our telecoms spend, which is critically important for an organisation spending public funds. And it also gives us the opportunity to be more responsive – our employees can be more mobile and contactable – and as result, they can serve the City of Leeds to best effect.”
Andy Green, CEO BT Global Services, said: “BT has emerged as a clear leader in the new market created by the convergence of communications and IT. We are using BT’s global knowledge, experience and expertise to ensure that this new innovative service will reduce the complexity of communications whilst also improving employee effectiveness and business productivity.”
Steve Andrews, BT Chief of Converged Communication Services added, “This launch underpins BT’s commitment to deliver innovative services for our customers and is another step in BT’s Fusion roadmap, which spans home, offices and ‘out and about’ globally. It will also continue to broaden the appeal of WiFi and take BT one step closer to achieving its Mobility and Convergence vision – providing its customers with access to all their applications and information on their choice of device, utilising the best network available with one customer experience.
BT will announce details of mobile handset strategic suppliers in the coming weeks. The service will initially be launched in the UK and Italy in early 2007, followed by a phased international roll out in Germany, Benelux, Spain and France, with confirmation of these and other countries following.