BT Introduce BT Business Anywhere

BT Fusion 0.5 ? –  great idea but perhaps a little confusing for the average bear?

this via Jason Langridge’s Blog and despite his reassurances I’m yet to be convinced as to how uncomplicated this service would be in realworld usage

what is it?

from the BT  Broadband Office website:

BT’s Office Anywhere brings you a big advance in multifunctional technology. With a BT Office Anywhere handset you can work as effectively when you’re out and about as you can at your desk.

  • Office Anywhere brings you advanced phone and data services using a single device. You have real-time access to email, calendar, contacts and documents
  • The handsets emulate a Windows PC experience, including web surfing with Internet Explorer and instant messaging
  • A single cost-effective subscription gives you inclusive mobile minutes, inclusive data allowance, and you can make unlimited hour-long VoIP calls to UK landlines from office, private or public WiFi hotspots at no extra charge
  • a high-specification multifunctional handset with preloaded Microsoft software

in English that’s an HTC S620 Smartphone running Windows Mobile 5.0 with push email (hosted by BT or your own Exchange 2003 SP2) and an integrated VoIP dialer to make calls when in range of a Hotspot

office-anywhere-smartphone

the blurb implies that the dialer logs on to BT Openzone Hotspots automatically which is great but you’ll need to manually log on to another providers service either pay as you go or if you have an Openzone account (an extra) at a roaming partner (say T-Mobile or the cloud ). Openzone accounts are an additional £5 for 500 minutes or £25 for 4000 minutes.

the unlimited VoIP calls are  a less rigorous version of our old favourite unlimited* in that you can only average 4 hours a day over a month to any one number or get hit with an additional ppm charge ( unlikely any but a very few users will  get affected by this I would have thought)

I’d like to see how handoff works between hotspots (if at all) and I am sure there’s no handoff from WiFi to Cellular which is a feature of UMA services

It’s a good hybrid but it needs to be really easy to use, ideally the device needs to do the thinking for the user, I don’t mean any disrespect to the users however all they will want to do is make a phone call with as little fuss as possible.

 

as I commented on Jason’s original post :

in my experience you’ll find geeks using it (but we can do something similar with existing tools); technoambivalents not bothering with that process and just staying cellular and technophobes running screaming from the handset.

all that said It would be a very good solution for lazy mobile users in the office as you could install a BTO hotspot and allow VoIP calls that way.

I’m disappointed with the tariff structure,  ideally I’d want an unlimited data tariff (for emails) to go along with bundled minutes and free VoIP, I think having options for the amount of data you need to use as follows :

Lite
(10MB)
Professional (30MB) Unlimited
BT Office Anywhere with 250
inclusive minutes
£39.50 £47.50 £54.50
BT Office Anywhere with 700
inclusive minutes
£60.50 £68.50 £75.50

confuses things a little  but I can understand why they do this BT have never being innovators in tariffs really as they have to be wary of the regulator.

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