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Our 2018/2019 review of BT Cloud Voice.

Did you know? As an Authorised BT Partner, we are able to fully demo BT Cloud Voice either at your office or via web conference. And, our current BT Channel offers are some of the best you'll find across BT Business.

In this article, we'll review the components and features of BT Cloud Voice.

Plus, if you're considering a new installation or migration from ISDN to Cloud Voice, our free webinar is an ideal way to learn more about the product. We'll walk you through the licence options, the call packages, the hardware and portal. Before we begin looking at product detail, we'll discuss current pricing and offers.

What are the latest BT Business Channel Cloud Voice deals and pricing?

The following offers are applicable to orders placed via the BT Busines Channel only. Note, you will receive the same direct contract, support and billing from BT Business. All contracts are signed by BT. If you would like to learn more about how we work or perhaps speak to a direct BT employee (Sales Specialist) get in touch or call 0333 202 1011.

If you are an existing BT ISDN customer, we are able to apply for early termination fee cancelation on any contracts making it easy to move from ISDN to Cloud.

5 Year term

 

  • 5-10 Licences - £15.75 Per User + £10 Per Licence Portal Configuration Charge (One Off) - Connect Licence + Unlimited UK Minutes + Auto Attendant + Free Desk phones up to £106 - 5 year contract
  • 10-20 Licences - £13.30 Per Licence + £10 Per Licence Portal Configuration Charge (One Off) - Connect Licence + Unlimited UK Minutes + Call Queuing/ Stacking + Auto Attendant + Free Desk phones up to £106 - 5 year contract
  • 20+ Licences - £12.45 Per Licence + £10 Per Licence Portal Configuration Charge (One Off) - Connect Licence + Unlimited UK Minutes + Call Queuing/ Stacking + Auto Attendant + Free Desk phones up to £106 - 5 year contract

3 Year term

  • 5-10 Licences - £16.30 Per User + £10 Per Licence Portal Configuration Charge (One Off) - Connect Licence + Unlimited UK Minutes + Auto Attendant + 50% off Desk phones up to the value of £106 - 3 year contract
  • 10-20 Licences - £16.30 Per Licence + £10 Per Licence Portal Configuration Charge (One Off) - Connect Licence + Unlimited UK Minutes + Call Queuing/ Stacking + Auto Attendant + Free Desk phones up to £106 - 3 year contract
  • 20+ Licences - £16.30 Per Licence + £10 Per Licence Portal Configuration Charge (One Off) - Connect Licence + Unlimited UK Minutes + Call Queuing/ Stacking + Auto Attendant + Free Desk phones up to £106 - 3 year contract
    * 12 month terms are subject to standard pricing.
 

What is BT Cloud Voice and how does IP telephony work vs ISDN services?

When business procures services such as IP telephony, the frustration associated with poor quality voice and video performance is not only bad for productivity but often impacts a business’s bottom line. These newer technology services are classed as virtual - in this respect; you are no longer managing and maintaining the aforementioned hardware.

This approach means features are continuously added and updated with new patches and enhancements deployed automatically. A major benefit of hosted telephony and one of the drivers behind Cloud technology purchases. The overall value proposition surrounds flexibility vs. your precise needs, some businesses require various licence types to fit the specific requirements of their users. For example, some users will work from an office location, others will work out in the field or from home and require access via tablet or mobile. The BT IP voice platform replaces on-site PBX hardware by moving the intelligence to the cloud (the BT network).

How to use BT Cloud Voice and what will your business require?

Essentially, a BT Internet connection, a call plan (typically unlimited to UK landlines/mobile) and compatible IP phone handset or the services are available via a client application. A component of the sales process involves checking the predicted performance of your access. This test is undoubtedly important when using BT Broadband as an access method.

Current BT products are as follows:

  • BT Infinity Premium: 76Mbps / 19Mbps
  • BT Infinity Unlimited: 38Mbps / 9.5Mbps
  • BT Business Broadband: 17Mbps / 0.9Mbps
  • BT FTTP: 330Mbps / 30Mbps BT GEA (Generic Ethernet Access) and EFM (Ethernet First Mile)
  • BTNet Internet Ethernet Leased Line: 100Mbps / 1Gbps with tiers, e.g. 100Mbps tiered at 10Mbps

What are the potential issues and problems with Cloud Voice?

Bandwidth, or lack of it, is one of the primary reasons cloud-based applications do not perform.

Each concurrent voice call over IP will require 100k per user. The rate at which bandwidth is consumed is dictated by a feature called the CODEC. Good voice quality is achieved typically when the G711 CODEC is used.

While this may be getting too deep into the weeds, the way to think about this is by using simple maths.

If your current Broadband is supporting 2Mbps upstream (for example), your connectivity would potentially support 20 concurrent calls.

Of course, this would only apply to a broadband which is not being used for any other application, i.e. Internet browsing. As Broadband circuits are often shared, BT configures QoS (Quality of Service) to prioritise your traffic outbound to avoid congestion issues.

Even with QoS, we recommend considering how much utilisation your Broadband circuit is being subjected to as this will dictate whether a standalone circuit is required.

With BTNet circuits, the bandwidth is much more plentiful and symmetrical (the same upstream and downstream speeds).

There is also more flexibility with the feature set. If a user required a couple of additional features, the product allows upgrades to be completed with ease.

What are the Cloud Voice licence types?

Please view our product page for more information on pricing and deals. Or refer to the top of this article. 

Options include the Basic, Connect and Collaborate licence as follows. In the most simplest terms, Connect and Collaborate offer the majority of features most customers require. Where required, your business is able to select licence types per user allowing a mix of features.

  • Basic, Connect, Collaborate: Hunt group – lets multiple phones ring when a number is called
  • Basic, Connect, Collaborate: Online portal – stay in control of call management features – wherever you are 
  • Basic, Connect, Collaborate: Automatic call routing – automatically send calls to another phone
  • Basic, Connect, Collaborate: Call forwarding – calls can be automatically forwarded to another phone if you’re not available
  • Basic, Connect, Collaborate: Call transfer – transfer calls internally or externally – even to a mobile 
  • Basic, Connect, Collaborate: Three-way calling – add a third person to join an existing conversation
  • Connect, Collaborate: Call director – keep your BT line ID even when calling from somewhere else 
  • Connect, Collaborate: Voicemail – voicemail messages can be sent straight to your inbox
  • Collaborate: UC Business (mobile apps, tablet apps and PC soft phone) – see who’s available, stay in touch by phone, video calls and instant messaging
  • Collaborate: UC Team – allows up to eight participants to take part in an audio or web conference.
DDI's are available within ANY geographical range and are not limited by location. With every licence, a number is required for hunt group, voice portal dialling and auto attendant. The cost for the number is low and set at 50p per month per number with the ability to purchase additional DDI's at a future date. The majority of numbers can be ported except 0800, 0845 and 0870 - BT manages the process.

 

The calling packages

All call minutes are shared across your users wth an easy to manage portal. 

BT Cloud Voice Call Charges

Cloud Voice Handsets - the IP Phones (2017 prices)

  • Polycom VVX 301 - 6 programmable line keys with 3.2" backlit LCD display £106.00
  • Polycom VVX 411 - 12 programmable line keys with 3.5" colour LCD display £154.00
  • Polycom VVX 601 - 12 programmable line keys with 4.5" touch screen display £213.50
  • BT T41P Handset - programmable keys. HD sound quality. Loudspeaker with ports for a headset and PC. £106.00
  • BT T46G Handset - support for Gigabit connectivity, 4.5" TFT colour display, 27 programmable keys. HD sound quality. Loudspeaker with ports for a headset and PC. £154.00
  • BT T48G Handset - support for Gigabit connectivity, 7" TFT colour display, 29 programmable keys. HD sound quality. Loudspeaker with ports for a headset and PC. £154.00
  • Polycom Conference Phone - 12-foot microphone pickup with LED backlight display. £589.00
  • Cloud Voice ATA - Enables customers to use an analogue device on the BT cloud voice service.
  • DECT Small Office Mobility - TFT colour screen with a range up to 30 metres indoors and 100 metres outdoors. Supports up to 5 handsets per base.

LAN and Cabling

With the addition of handsets, your business will need to consider the LAN environment. BT recommend a minimum base of cat5e cabling. The most basic checks include ensuring there are enough free ports and there is sufficient capacity. All LAN switches should also support power over Ethernet.

Managed Routers

All BT Managed Routers are configured with QoS, prioritisation of voice is enabled. The latest BTNet routers are based on Cisco edge routers with Broadband supported by BT's own Business Hub 5. With the Business Hub, BT can enable to inbuilt Firewall functionality to secure.

For those of you considering BTNet or using a BTNet leased line, other Firewall arrangements should be made. Our experience with data networking ensures we have the ability to assist if required.

Some ports will need to be enabled to allow calls to flow through; these are all outlined within the welcome pack.

BT Cloud Voice vs. BT Cloud Phone

The main and most obvious different is the platform. The legacy Cloud Phone product used Ring Central as the intelligence behind the portal. 

Cloud Phone includes calling packages which range from 500 minutes to mobile and landlines to 60000 minutes depending on your business size.

One of the restrictions of Cloud Phone was the inflexibility of the licences. Once your business has selected a particular feature licence, they were effectively stuck on that option as the system was not flexible enough to support different licences across a single site. We're not totally clear on why this restriction exists but presume this was a by-product of the need to integrate Ring Central with BT systems.

What does the demo include?

The webinar or face to face demonstration of BT Cloud Voice covers the following areas. The sessions are designed to be interactive and answer questions.

BT Cloud Voice Demo Kit 

  • The licences - We'll walk you through each licence type including Basic, Connect and Colaborate.
  • The call packages - Sharer minutes across users from 500 minutes to unlimited.
  • The hardware - Polycom and Yealink handsets, analogue to digital conversion, conference phones and DEC.
  • The offers, deals and pricing - 1 Year, 3 Year and 5 Year contract terms.
  • The connectivity - Every BT Cloud Voice service is bundled with BTNet leased lines, Copper or Fibre broadband.
  • The technical elements - How BT Cloud Voice problems occur when connectivity is not considered.
  • Free - our Webinar sessions are free and without commitment, we never share your data.

Conclusion

This is the first in a series of posts on the Cloud Voice proposition. We're happy to answer specific questions you may have, if you use Discuss, please leave a comment.

Finally, we can:

  • Provide you with account management to find and establish the best solution based on your requirements.
  • Complete a site survey where required.
  • There's a welcome to the service call with an interactive discussion to refine your purchased service.
  • Full user guides available.
  • The service is very user-friendly allowing you to upgrade, add licences and features.
  • Cloud Voice support is the UK based via dedicated help desk with experts.

The BT Cloud Voice Channel Offers

Order via the BT Partner Channel and take advantage of our fantastic pricing offers. All orders are placed directly with BT end to end including your contract, support and billing.
Any order placed via the BT Channel are completed by BT employed resources. There are no contracts to sign with Network Union, the end to end process is based on standard BT ordering systems and workflows. If you would like to speak with a BT employed resources about this offer, get in touch.
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