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ShoreTel Addresses Key Trends - Mobility, Distributed Environments, Contact Center

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August 24, 2010

ShoreTel Addresses Key Trends - Mobility, Distributed Environments, Contact Center

By Sandra M. Gustavsen, Analyst, T3i Group LLC

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ShoreTel announced the availability of its latest Release 11 software at a successful Channel Partners conference in July, revealing new features and functionality which are right in line with current business telephony trends - mobility (Communicator for Web and Apple iPhone) and reliability/availability (distributed databases). Expanded QSIG features (Message Waiting Indication and Call Diversion) address legacy migration and interoperability with other vendor’s system. 

ShoreTel also differentiates its contact center offer, adding new Dashboard and Interaction Viewer productivity applications with ShoreTel Contact Center 6. To cap it all off, ShoreTel reports fiscal 2010 revenues 10% above the previous year and recently won the highest score (again) in an independent Nemertes research study, with top scores in terns of value, technology, customer service and management tools. Also, ShoreTel is prepared to beat any competitor’s price via its Lowest TCO Guarantee program which uses results from the company’s TCO calculator (now in an online version). Read more below and visit for more on business communications solutions from ShoreTel and other leading IP PBX (News - Alert) vendors.

ShoreTel introduces the latest version of its call processing software, ShoreTel 11. The new software makes several improvements for larger, multi-site businesses – a key focus for ShoreTel as the company highlights the scalability of its IP PBX (scales to 10,000 users) and the advantages of its simple and distributed architecture for any size business. ShoreTel also addresses key trends in business telephony, including new options for mobile workers and improvements to ShoreTel Contact Center software (R6.0).

ShoreTel 11 – What’s New?

Ø ShoreTel renames the ShoreTel Call Manager client software to ‘ShoreTel Communicator’ in order to differentiate the offer from competitors that use the “Call Manager” nomenclature, but also to reflect that the client not only supports voice calling, but also video and data. ShoreTel Communicator comes in six Access Levels with different feature capabilities. The basic level, ShoreTel Communicator with Personal Access, is ordered separately at no cost to users and enables PC-based voice and unified message management. Professional Access (presence, instant messaging and 2-party video), Operator Access, Mobile Access, Workgroup Agent Access and Workgroup Supervisor Access are also available as before.

Ø ShoreTel Communicator with Mobile Access adds Personal Access functionality to selected BlackBerry, Nokia, Motorola, Windows Mobile, and now, Apple iPhone (News - Alert) devices (pictured); a Web version (Web Communicator) is also available for Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari Web browsers. Support for the Google (News - Alert) smartphone is on the roadmap.

Ø ShoreTel improves reliability and performance in the distributed, multi-site environments of larger businesses, making it possible to install instances (copies) of the system configuration database at remote sites. This allows the remote site to continue to function (using the database copy) even if the WAN connection to the main server fails; databases can be automatically replicated and manually resynchronized when the connection to the main system is restored. ShoreTel also added distributed features with the previous ShoreTel 9 software (geographic redundancy using a spare ShoreGear Voice Switch) and with ShoreTel 10 software (distributed workgroups, paging and account codes).

Ø ShoreTel supports two additional QSIG features, Message Waiting Indication and Call Diversion, to its existing QSIG support, improving the integration between ShoreTel and legacy platforms from other vendors. Earlier this year, the company announced its ShoreTel 360 Legacy Migration Program to support ShoreTel integrations with third party PBXs. The ShoreTel 360 program provides implementation resources and management tools that address these multi-vendor integrations.

ShoreTel Contact Center 6.0 - What’s New?

Ø Concurrent with ShoreTel 11, the company announces version 6.0 of its ShoreTel Contact Center software, The new version is available for ShoreTel’s flagship Enterprise Contact Center multimedia offer and makes several significant improvements, including increased capacity for larger contact centers to 1,000 concurrent agents (up from 600) with 2,000 agents in total. ShoreTel also adds new applications that differentiate its contact center offer and compete with other leading vendors that are rolling out new applications for the customer service market. The Agent Dashboard Web-based application (pictured with Apple iPad) displays real-time agent and queue statistics and leverages APIs for customization; a new real-time event feed generates group, queue and agent information. The new Web-based Interaction Viewer application for supervisors provides end-to-end information on inbound voice calls, but also on Web chats and e-mails.

Ø With ShoreTel Contact Center 6.0, the company streamlines its call/contact center portfolio down to two in-house offers: (1) embedded ShoreWare Workgroup software for small, informal voice-only call centers and (2) ShoreWare Enterprise Contact Center, the optional application for inbound/outbound multi-media contact centers. (The earlier option, ShoreWare Contact Center for larger inbound ACD voice-only call centers, is no longer offered as of ShoreTel Contact Center 6.0.) For larger, distributed contact centers (approximately 2,000 agents) that need more advanced functionality, ShoreTel partners with Syntellect (News - Alert) to offer the Customer Interaction Management (CIM) product suite.

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