ShoreTel extends voice, unified communications apps to smartphones

Summary:ShoreTel is expanding is mobile and cloud strategies by bringing its unified communications platform to smartphones.

ShoreTel is extending its mobile strategy to a wider customer base thanks to the acquisition of M5 Networks earlier this year.

Customers of the M5 cloud division will be able to access ShoreTel's voice and unified communications applications on their smartphones. Initially, access will only be available for the iPhone, but additional support for Android and BlackBerry smartphones and tablets are expected to follow starting later this summer.

As the BYOD trend continues, it's becoming commonplace for enterprise employees to only want to carry around one mobile device -- if possible.

Thus, the idea here is that customers will be able to leverage a single, converged device for both business and personal communications.

That's not a new concept as many telecommunications providers are trying to introduce apps and interfaces that enable one smartphone to double as two, but ShoreTel touts the added bonus of being able to access an office desk phone and UC capabilities on an iPhone without having to learn a new interface.

Dan Hoffman, president of ShoreTel's cloud division, explained in prepared remarks that this solution is "a win-win" because customers can just use the devices they already own without much of a learning curve, saving companies money in the long run.

For example, ShoreTel Mobility automatically and securely selects the best available network (i.e. cellular or Wi-Fi) without requiring any action by the user, saving potentially a boatload on international roaming and other charges.

However, users will want to pay attention to which account they are dialing from because calls made through ShoreTel Mobility won't be omitted from the phone system’s business intelligence. Records for business calls made to and from the mobile device would be included along with desk phone calls so that IT and communications managers have better visibility into employee and overall business performance.

ShoreTel Mobility is available for any ShoreTel’s Cloud Division clients for a monthly fee per user.

Related:

Topics: Security, Mobility, Wi-Fi

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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