Unified communications and video collaboration technology vendors are bringing their products to smartphones and tablets as enterprises increase their demand for high-end communications capabilities while dealing with employees looking to bring their mobile device into the corporate environment.
ShoreTel on Oct. 10 is expanding the reach of its ShoreTel Mobility solution-which enables the integration of mobile devices with IP PBX systems-to smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating systems and Research In Motions BlackBerry OS 6 platform. ShoreTel will continue its ongoing support for devices running Apple's iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.
ShoreTel made its announcement less than a week after video collaboration software vendors Vidyo and Radvision separately unveiled plans to bring apps for their technologies to the iOS and Android platforms. At the same time, as part of a larger WAN optimization announcement, Cisco Systems officials said that later this month they are making their Show and Share solution for searching, watching, recording and uploading videos available to iPad and iPhone users through a free app in the Apple App Store.
The moves come amid the dual trends of greater enterprise demand for communications tools-including for remote workers-to improve employee productivity and reduce corporate costs and address the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) push, with workers looking to access corporate data and applications through their personal mobile products.
ShoreTel's mobile technology comes from its acquisition of Agito Networks last year. Agito's RoamAnywhere Mobility Router enables users to use their mobile devices as they would their PBX phones. Pejman Roshan was an executive with Agito when it was bought by ShoreTel. Now ShoreTel's vice president of mobility, Roshan said in an interview with eWEEK that until a couple of years ago, Agito sold its technology primarily for RIM's BlackBerry devices, which were the mobile phones that businesses typically issued their customers.
That changed when Apple introduced its iPhone smartphone, he said.
"When the iPhone came out, there was a surge of customers who wanted to migrate to that smartphone, and then later [customers started migrating] to Android," Roshan said.
Radvision officials noted a recent study by Nemertes Research that said 86 percent of enterprises are seeing an increase in the number of employees who are telecommuting, and that 43 percent say their mobility budgets are growing by double digits.