BT today announced an agreement to use fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) software in customer trials being conducted by its Global Services division.
BT Global Services will use OnRelay's mobile branch exchange (MBX) software with a number of UK-based and multinational customers as part of BT's Unified Communications offering.
The MBX architecture works over any public mobile network, and is designed to deliver all the functionality of a customer's existing PBX system to a mobile phone, regardless of network, across the world.
BT said that, on completion of the trials, it is expected that the OnRelay solution will join the BT Corporate Fusion portfolio, which includes the original Fusion FMC service launched in 2005 that targeted smaller businesses and consumers.
BT has since offered solutions based on a variety of technologies, including low-power GSM, One Voice Mobile Access, a hosted offering based on an Alcatel-Lucent platform, and a dual-mode customer premises equipment (CPE) solution based on Cisco's Call Manager.
Malcolm Pilcher, BT Global Services head of voice, CPE and FMC, said BT recognises that "one size does not fit all".
"We see this [FMC] demand accelerating as our customers look to maximise their existing infrastructure, improve employee productivity and continue their drive to manage and control costs," he said.
Analyst firm Ovum welcomed the agreement, as it allows BT to introduce a PBX-agnostic single-mode GSM solution, which offers a high degree of integration and holds the potential to become dual-mode in the future.
Pauline Trotter, principal analyst in Ovum's enterprise practice, explained that FMC offerings have been relatively slow to gain traction in the enterprise space, but that the business case is made primarily around hardware infrastructure cost savings.
"Of course, there are reasons other than cost savings for an enterprise to adopt an FMC solution. Simply providing a single number, so that more calls are answered, can in itself be a huge benefit for some kinds of business," she said.
"Make this easy to use, and well integrated with the features and functionality of the corporate network, and you have the core of a successful offering, even in the absence of an alternative transport network such as Wi-Fi. "
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