Can We Talk? ShoreTel Brings New UC, Collaboration Tools To The iPad


ShoteTel Tuesday rolled out a new unified communications and a new conferencing solution optimized for use on Apple's iPad.

The two solutions -- called ShoreTel Mobility 6 and ShoreTel Conferencing -- are meant to arm mobile users with the same conferencing, application sharing and collaboration capabilities they tap into on their desktop or laptop PCs. ShoreTel said the solutions are being targeted first at the iPad, rather than competing Windows 8- or Android-based tablets, because Apple's device seems to be driving the BYOD trend in the enterprise more than any of its rivals.

"The Apple iPad has quickly become the most popular tablet brought by users into the workplace," said Peter Blackmore, CEO of ShoreTel, in a statement. "ShoreTel transforms the iPad into a true multimodal business communications device for placing and receiving calls just like a desk phone, for sending and responding to instant messages, and for easily collaborating with other PC, Mac and iPad users."

[Related: ShoreTel Shuffles Cloud Division Management]

ShoreTel Mobility 6 provides enterprise telephony, instant messaging and the ability to view users' presence statuses from an iPad. The solution also has enterprise VoIP over Wi-Fi, along with 3G and 4G networks, allowing employees to extend their business lines to their iPad so they can place and receive calls from the tablet using their office phone numbers. ShoreTel's enterprise PBX features also are included, so users can dial extensions, transfer calls and access visual voicemail on their iPads just as they would in the office.

ShoreTel Mobility 6 can be integrated into other, non-ShoreTel UC applications, such as those from Cisco, Avaya and Microsoft.

The ShoreTel Conferencing solution, meanwhile, gives users on-the-go access to Web conferencing and collaboration solutions for sharing documents, presentations and other files directly from an iPad.

ShoreTel said its solutions help quell some of the security concerns related to BYOD by automatically enabling VPN and encryption for iPad users.

While ShoreTel Mobility 6 and ShoreTel Conferencing are meant to make the iPad an enterprise-grade device, ShoreTel said each solution was built to preserve the tablet's simple and intuitive UI. Employees can use the same swiping and tapping gestures they do when using other iPad applications, said Bernard Gutnick, senior director at ShoreTel.

"If you know how to use the iPad for 50 different things, here are two new ways to use it that are just as intuitive as before," Gutnick said.

According to Randy Marcotte, director of sales at Perfect Video Conferencing, a Boulder City, Nev.-based solution provider, ShoreTel's new Mobility 6 and Conferencing solutions coincide well with the rapid adoption of BYOD in the enterprise.

"We see the mobile device and tablet as having been an end user’s convenience and a CIO's nightmare," Marcotte wrote in an email to CRN. "Now that vendors like ShoreTel and LifeSize are integrating them into their strategy, there is a logical, effective and manageable role for these devices."

PUBLISHED MARCH 6, 2013