ShoreTel is adding its own IM and audio and Web conferencing capabilities to ShoreTel 12, and also is doubling the number of users it can support.
continuing its efforts to become a larger player in the unified communications
market, most recently with the release this week of the latest version of its
12, announced May 11, the vendor is adding high-definition audio conferencing,
Web conferencing and XMPP-based instant messaging to its offering. In addition,
Microsoft Outlook scheduling and multimedia recording are integrated into the
is making it easier for IT administrators to get the various collaboration
capabilities deployed, with a simplified setup and configuration process that
can get an enterprise up and running in 10 minutes or less. New users can be
added with a single click, and with ShoreTel Director, a browser-based
administrative interface, the system can support up to 20,000 local or remote
It's such ease
of use that is a key differentiator between ShoreTel and its larger
competitors, according to the company's CMO, Kevin Gavin.
"All of us are
good at meeting [end-user] requirements," Gavin said in an interview with
eWEEK. "We think we accomplish the same things, but we do it a little bit
looking for easier ways to deploy UC systems, he said. Cisco Systems has built
up much of its collaboration capabilities through acquisitions, which created a
complicated offering, Gavin said. Avaya's UC products are built atop legacy
technologies, which also add layers of complexity. ShoreTel's products take
half the effort to keep up and running, he said.
offers an open architecture. "There's no closed, proprietary innovation," Gavin
12, customers now can offer employees audio conferencing, Web conferencing and
IM integrated into the core platform, which makes deployment and management
easier, according to the company. In addition, ShoreTel doubled the number of
users the platform can support in a single image, from 10,000 to 20,000, making
it a solid option for larger enterprises.
ShoreTel had gotten its audio conferencing, Web conferencing and IM
capabilities from Alcatel-Lucent.
Outlook 2010 integration means scheduling and joining audio conferences can be
accomplished with a single click on the Outlook menu, and users can start a
call or IM exchange though Outlook. ShoreTel 12 also integrates Microsoft
Exchange 2010, offering it as an option to act as the unified messaging server.
There also is a native application for Apple Macintosh users called ShoreTel
Communicator for Mac, a nod to the growing number of Mac users in the
enterprise, according to the company.
Communicator also now supports such mobile devices as Apple's iPhone and
Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones. ShoreTel grew is mobile
capabilities in October 2010, when it bought Agito Networks
for about $11.4 million.
Agito's products were designed to help businesses extend their UC capabilities
ShoreTel plans to aggressively grow its UC platform, with major releases coming
out every nine months.
will ship in June. ShoreTel officials showcased the new UC platform at the
Interop 2011 show this week in Las Vegas.