To give remote workers the reliability of traditional telephony and the functionality that their counterparts in the main office enjoy, ShoreTel Inc. this week is unveiling Office Anywhere as part of the latest upgrades to its IP telephony technology.
"Teleworkers today are at the mercy of the Internet. But voice isnt a guaranteed IP service," said Richard Winslow, senior director of product management at ShoreTel, in Sunnyvale, Calif.
With ShoreTel 6, workers can assign their office extensions to any telephone in the world, and ShoreTel routes the voice call over the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), ensuring expected call reliability. The process is transparent to IP telephone users.
The new product, which will be available in mid-September, includes support for SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) as well as enhanced security features, including integrated encryption, and improved management functions. It also includes Wi-Fi SIP support, which is particularly beneficial at remote work sites that do not have cell phone coverage, Winslow said.
Peterbilt Pacific Inc., which sells and services the renowned Peterbilt trucks, fits that profile. The company has been using ShoreTels IP technology in its five locations for two years and installed the latest version in August, said Jim Schroeder, IT manager at the companys headquarters, in Surrey, British Columbia.
Peterbilt Pacifics servicing sites are all Wi-Fi-enabled, and mechanics use the Internet to diagnose mechanical problems with the trucks, Schroeder said. However, the same employees have had to use cordless analog phones for voice communications, and the coverage isnt good, he said.
"Sales staff will be able to direct calls to their cells and bring those calls back to their cells relatively easily," Schroeder said.
Along with the software enhancements, ShoreTel this week is unveiling two new phones. The ShorePhone IP110, the least expensive phone the company offers, is billed as an affordable entry model for common areas in an office or campus environment. It includes basic features such as transfer, redial and hold, but it does not include a speakerphone.
The ShorePhone BB24 is well-suited to a reception desk, and it includes a button box, which means that the user does not have to use the computer to process calls.