TelecomTactics Takeaway: ShoreTel (News - Alert), Inc. continues to enhance its unified communications products, announcing a new global release, ShoreTel 9, at the recent VoiceCon Orlando event where the company won the Best in VoiceCon Award for the third year in a row. With a focus on large enterprise solutions and personalized communications, ShoreTel 9 represents the third major upgrade in less than one year and introduces new features and functionality that improve call continuity (geographic redundancy) and enhance an individual’s ability to communicate quickly and effectively (GPS location-based routing, Announced Find Me, Personalized Call Handling and more).
In addition to new solutions, ShoreTel highlights recent corporate successes, including 750 new customers in fourth quarter 2008, 14 profitable quarters in a row and year over year revenue growth of 16%. Internationally, the company’s partner program is growing with 17 distributors and 97 VAR partners in EMEA and seven distributors and 40 partners in APAC.
With the new ShoreTel 9 release, ShoreTel enhances its Mobile Call Manager (MCM) application with new Location Based Services (LBS) that use GPS to identify the device location and route calls according to user settings. Users with a GPS-enabled mobile device running the MCM client can define waypoints that trigger automatic changes to the user’s Call Handling Mode and Office Anywhere settings, based on the location of the mobile phone. For example, the user can specify that calls be forwarded to voicemail when the GPS detects the user has arrived at their home. GPS-enabled mobile devices compatible with the ShoreTel solution include BlackBerry 9000, 8300 and 8800 series and Nokia (News - Alert) N95, E90 and E611 devices.
With or without the LBS services, mobile users can utilize Mobile Call Manager to conveniently switch their office extension to the mobile device while away from their desk (one phone number and one voice mail account). Users can change call handling modes (personal options) remotely, check e-mail and voicemail, look up contacts in a corporate directory and more. A number of mobile device options were already available, including BlackBerry 81xx, 83xx and 88xx, BlackBerry 9000, Nokia E65 and Motorola Razr V3xx. Now, with ShoreTel 9, additional mobile devices are compatible: the HTC (News - Alert) Mogul PPC-6800 (a Windows Mobile 6 device), Nokia E61i, E90 and N95 Series and BlackBerry 7200, 8700c and 9000 Series. More devices are planned for later this year.
ShoreTel 9 also adds a number of feature enhancements, including the Announced Find Me feature that records a caller’s name, identifying that caller by name when the call is routed to a Find Me destination. New Personalized Call Handling extends the call routing rules available with ShoreTel’s earlier Call Handling Mode, so that a user can now define handling methods for inbound calls according to time and date, the user’s status or the caller’s identity. Other notable features include Call Handling Rule Delegation, parked call with Caller ID and voicemail timestamps adjusted by time zone. Instant Messaging (IM) Presence Privacy lets users manage the visibility of their IM presence status.
For larger, distributed enterprises, geographic redundancy is now possible. This means that a spare ShoreGear Voice Switch can be located anywhere in network, so that all calls can be redirected to this spare switch if a failure occurs. With this configuration, active calls continue in the event of failover. Previously, each site required a locally configured spare switch which would handle calls in this location only.
Additional ShoreTel 9 enhancements include integration of the Microsoft (News - Alert) Active Directory with the ShoreTel directory, support for new standards (LLDP-MED, 802.1x and SRTP/AES encryption) and increased capacity for ShoreTel’s Contact Center Workgroup (to 256 groups and 300 users per group). ShoreTel continues to increase the number of SIP trunking service providers and also adds support for more third party SIP telephones, including those from Cisco and Polycom, as well as Ascom WiFi and DECT mobile phones and dual-mode phones from Comdasys (News - Alert) and DiVitas.
ShoreTel 9, available in over 26 countries in 15 languages, is a free upgrade for current customers on a ShoreTel support contract.
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 Erik Linask