ShoreTel gets foothold Down Under

Enterprise-grade Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) hardware vendor ShoreTel formally opened its doors in Australia today, with at least one significant local customer win already under its belt. The company has sold hardware in the Australian market for some time through its distributor Connector Systems, but hasn't had its own presence on the ground.

Enterprise-grade Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) hardware vendor ShoreTel formally opened its doors in Australia today, with at least one significant local customer win already under its belt.

The company has sold hardware in the Australian market for some time through its distributor Connector Systems, but hasn't had its own presence on the ground.

ShoreTel has opened offices in North Sydney and appointed Tony Warhust its managing director of the Southeast Asian region. The executive migrated from the local operation of rival VoIP vendor Zultys before the company went bankrupt last year.

ShoreTel will compete with incumbents such as Cisco, Nortel, Avaya, Alcatel and others in the local market for IP telephony hardware, which is currently seeing rapid growth.

In a press conference this morning, Warhurst said his company already listed local insolvency firm Ferrier Hodgson among its clients, along with more than 20 other unnamed companies.

Ferrier Hodgson installed a 130-user ShoreTel IP telephony system in its Sydney office in mid-2006.

In a statement issued by ShoreTel, the insolvency firm's IT manager, Mustafa Mohabbat, said his company found the ShoreTel equipment "more functional and easier to use" than other IP telephony offerings.

"There are a lot of 'smarts' in the handsets, which means less training for staff," he added. The company also examined rival offerings from Avaya and Samsung, eventually selecting ShoreTel on the value and quality of its customer service.

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Warhust said Shoretel will operate through a channel model in Australia, and only has two staff on the ground so far. The company will eventually look to expand into Singapore and India.

Some of ShoreTel's major international clients include Viacom, Sega and Avanade.

ShoreTel has been selling IP telephony systems since 1998 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

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