ShoreTel Buys Agito, Expands Mobile UC Capabilities

ShoreTel will expand its mobile UC portfolio and gain access to more Fortune 1000 companies with its $11.4 million acquisition of Agito Networks.

ShoreTel is expanding its unified communications capability by buying Agito Networks and creating a product that lets users communicate anywhere, from any device and on any network.

ShoreTel officials, who announced Oct. 21 that the company is buying Agito for $11.4 million, said the deal also will enable ShoreTel to reduce mobile and long-distance call costs, and let businesspeople use their smartphones as PBX phones.

ShoreTel offers UC capabilities with its line of IP business phones, including voice, video data and mobile communications. Officials say the company's open and distributed IP architecture helps drive the cost of its offerings below those of competitors such as Cisco Systems and Avaya.

Agito's products will expand what ShoreTel can offer in the mobile space, where Agito was helping businesses extend their UC capabilities and voice onto smartphones.

Agito's RoamAnywhere Mobility Router is designed to create a fixed mobile convergence platform that brings together WLANs, carrier cell networks, IP telephony and location technologies, enabling customers to use their mobile phones as they would their desktop devices.

Using mobile phones as PBX extensions is becoming increasingly important as more workers become mobile and use cell phones as their primary phones, according to ShoreTel officials.

ShoreTel will now be able to offer native support for such smartphone and tablet PCs as Research In Motion's BlackBerrys, Apple's iPhone and iPad, Nokia devices, and handsets that run Windows Mobile. Such support should lessen the integration issues that arise for businesses as more employees move to mobile devices of their choosing.

"This is a key strategic investment that creates a significant differentiator for ShoreTel in enterprise mobility," interim ShoreTel CEO Don Girskis said in a statement. "Dependence on smartphones continues to skyrocket, but many workers still struggle with poor coverage areas, inferior call quality, expensive international roaming fees and limited feature sets."

Integrating Agito's technologies with ShoreTel's UC system will "free users to use any network (WiFi or cellular), leveraging the power of the desk phone, and taking advantage of industry-leading call quality and call controls from their smartphone," Girskis said. "This not only has a positive impact on productivity, but it also positively affects the bottom line with significant savings on mobile and international usage fees."

Businesses, the company said, will see improved employee production, reduced communications costs-Agito's technology saved some companies up to 80 percent on their mobile and international calls, according to ShoreTel-heterogeneous PBX support that now includes mobility in ShoreTel's Legacy Migration Program, and greater security.

Through the deal, ShoreTel will get all of Agito's IP and distribution network, and it will hire some Agito employees. ShoreTel also will get greater access to Fortune 1000 customers, according to company officials.