Takeaway: Viewing the smartphone as a “game changer” that has caused a major shift in mobile communications, ShoreTel acquired Agito Networks (News - Alert) and its fixed mobile convergence (FMC) technology (a transaction that completed on Oct. 19. 2010). ShoreTel now owns the solution and can begin to develop integrations specific to the ShoreTel (News - Alert) IP PBX, unlike some competing vendors that rely on a third-party partner for FMC. Additionally, as a SIP-based open standards solution, Agito’s (now ShoreTel’s) RoamAnywhere product already integrates with communications systems from other vendors such as Avaya (Nortel), Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Digium Asterisk, Microsoft (News - Alert) and many others, making it a complement to ShoreTel’s 360 Legacy Migration Program that encourages and facilitates the deployment of ShoreTel platforms with other vendor’s equipment. The Agito acquisition adds to other favorable news from ShoreTel, including positive fiscal Q1 2011 financials (a 31% increase in revenue over 1Q 2010) and a growing customer base (now 15,000 customers in 37 countries). Read more about RoamAnywhere below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on ShoreTel and other IP PBX vendors.
ShoreTel responds to the needs of a growing mobile workforce with a new FMC solution from Agito Networks, a company that ShoreTel recently acquired for $11.4 million in a transaction finalized on Oct. 19. FMC lets mobile employees use a smartphone device as their business telephone to automatically handoff active calls between a cellular network and the enterprise wireless network (a corporate WiFi network). Users will be able to access enterprise calling features (extension dialing, call hold, transfer, forwarding, ad-hoc conferencing, etc.), presence and location functionality from the smartphone. Regardless of the network that the call is using (cellular or corporate WiFi), it will display the Caller ID name and number of the user’s office telephone. Employees using the solution will have a single phone number and single voicemail wherever they are. FMC also lowers communications costs when the corporate WiFi network is used for voice calls instead of more expensive cellular minutes. Agito's patent-pending least cost routing transmits cellular calls via the cheapest path inside and outside the enterprise.
As a SIP-based open standards solution, Agito’s (now ShoreTel’s) RoamAnywhere product also integrates with (and is already certified with) communications systems from other vendors such as Avaya (Nortel), Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Digium Asterisk, Microsoft and many others, making it a complement to ShoreTel’s 360 Legacy Migration Program that encourages and facilitates the deployment of ShoreTel platforms with other vendor’s equipment. Though Agito is now part of ShoreTel, it will continue to sell solutions to other vendors.
ShoreTel and Agito explain that RoamAnywhere is not just another softphone running on a smartphone device, but that there is deeper integration that differentiates it from competing solutions. With RoamAnywhere, users do not need to log in from a VPN when outside the WiFi network, and the solution has a unique handoff capability that senses the strength of the WiFi signal to determine when a call should be handed off. RoamAnywhere also supports E911, 2-way calling, location awareness and scales to over 5,000 users, which translates into new opportunities for ShoreTel in terms of larger enterprises. RoamAnywhere works with Microsoft OCS for presence status information and will integrate with ShoreTel’s presence capability in the future.
What is required? The Agito RoamAnywhere Product has two components: (1) the RoamAnywhere Mobility Router that integrates with the enterprise PBX and (2) the client software application which installs on the smartphone. The RoamAnywhere Mobility Router comes in three versions, all with Secure Remote Voice and Secure Instant Communications: 2000 Series (25-100 users), 4000 Series (100-1,000 users with high availability) and 6000 Series (100-10,000 users with high availability, hardware encryption and hardware VoIP acceleration). With RoamAnywhere, ShoreTel will support popular smartphones and tablets, including RIM BlackBerry, Apple iPhone and iPad, Nokia (News - Alert) and Windows Mobile with a consistent user interface for all devices (Google Android will be supported later).
Availability/Compatibility: The RoamAnywhere FMC solution is available now for ShoreTel customers. Compatible smartphones and tablets include RIM BlackBerry, Apple iPhone (News - Alert) and iPad, Nokia and Windows Mobile (Google Android will be available later). As a SIP-based solution, Agito’s (now ShoreTel’s) RoamAnywhere product also integrates with communications systems from other vendors such as Avaya (Nortel), Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Digium Asterisk, Microsoft and many others. The new FMC option adds to several mobility options already available from ShoreTel, including ShoreTel’s OfficeAnywhere feature, the ShoreTel Communicator for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and iPhone devices and third party WiFi and DECT solutions; previously, ShoreTel partnered with Comdasys for FMC.
Sandra M. Gustavsen, senior analyst for T3i Group, contributes her TelecomTactics column to TMCnet. To read more of Sandra’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf