BT extends Onevoice SIP trunking beyond the UK

BT Global Services will soon offer features such as presence and instant messaging to multinational companies' VPN users across five European countries and the US

BT is extending the global reach of Onevoice's SIP trunking capabilities, which allow multinational companies to plug their unified communications systems into various countries' local voice services.

Onevoice is BT Global Services' virtual private network (VPN) product. So far, it has only had session initiation protocol (SIP) capabilities within the UK, but on Thursday BT said that feature was being extended to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and the United States in "the coming months". Spain and other countries will follow, BT said.

SIP allows a user to connect to the VPN from a range of devices, and also enables features such as presence — the ability to see who else in the network is online and which type of communications device they might be available on — and instant messaging.

The company also announced on Thursday that Onevoice had become a qualified SIP trunking service for interconnection with Microsoft's Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 R2, combining presence and instant messaging with Onevoice conferencing and internet telephony (VoIP).

"SIP trunking gives customers the capability to introduce collaboration applications which increase productivity and save cost," BT Global Services vice president Neil Sutton said in a statement. "The Microsoft qualification will open the door to further developments within the combined BT and Microsoft portfolio, creating a platform for innovation inside BT Onevoice all in a security-enhanced global environment."

Last month, BT launched a trial of its Onevoice Ribbit service, where web-console-based softphones make or receive calls over the Onevoice VPN. The company intends to roll that service out more fully to multinational companies in the remainder of the year.