ShoreTel is embracing open standards such as H.264 and SIP as it grows the video conferencing features in ShoreTel 13.
ShoreTel is expanding the video conferencing
and instant messaging capabilities of its unified communications platform,
leveraging open standards to help businesses increase employee productivity.
The companys ShoreTel 13 software release,
announced July 17, takes advantage of new capabilities within ShoreTel
Communicator, the platforms call manager application, to broaden the video
collaboration and IM features.
The updated ShoreTel Communicator enables
users to participate in room-based video conferences using desktops or laptops
that support the H.264 industry standard. ShoreTel already has begun
integrating its offering with systems from LifeSize Communications, Logitechs
video communications business, and Polycom, and is working to become certified
with other vendors, according to Jeff Ridley, ShoreTels director of product
The use of the H.264 protocol is part of
ShoreTels larger embrace of open standards, including Extensible Messaging and
Presence Protocol (XMPP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), to make unified
communications (UC) more ubiquitous, Ridley told eWEEK
With this release [of ShoreTel 13], we are
emphasizing the openness of the platform, he said.
Video collaboration is increasingly important
as enterprises look for ways to improve employee productivity, improve
communications and reduce corporate costs, such as travel expenses. Users now
are looking to be able to leverage the systems they have to communicate with
others, regardless of whose technology is being used, Ridley said.
By having ShoreTel 13 support the H.264
standard, users can participate in room-based video conferences through their
desktop PCs or notebooks. Users, through their PCs, can dial into the
room-based system and they become part of the video conference.
What the world didnt need is another video
standard, Kevin Gavin, ShoreTels chief marketing officer, told eWEEK
It made more sense to leverage H.264 and SIP
to give users the capability to easily connect into video conferences from
their PCs, Gavin said. ShoreTel leverages multiple open interfaces that enable
easy integration of third-party applications from video collaboration vendors.
The simplicity of the solution is a key
differentiator for ShoreTel, he said. Other vendors, like Cisco Systems, may
also offer similar capabilities, but they tend to be more complex and difficult
ShoreTel also is expanding the instant
messaging capability to all users by enabling IM in ShoreTel Communicator for
Personal Access at no extra cost. Before, the IM capability had only been
available in the companys Professional version, Ridley said. Businesses
through ShoreTel Communicator also can use standards-based IM servers, including
ShoreTels own XMPP IM server or Microsofts Lynch, Gavin said.
Instant messaging is becoming a key
form of communication for employees, making it important to increase access to
it, Ridley said.
We see it as basic as the phone to
communications, he said.
ShoreTel 13 also includes enhancements to SIP
interfaces, extending enterprise contact center agent capabilities enabled from
SIP trunking service providers.