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ShoreTel executives focus on accelerating unified communications

ShoreTel executives discuss the future of real-time, unified communications as well as its own cloud and collaboration strategies.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- Understanding mobility and the cloud -- arguably two of the biggest (if not the biggest) hot topics in IT right now -- were the key objectives discussed at ShoreTel Investor Day on Wednesday afternoon.

ShoreTel CEO and president Peter Blackmore commenced by offering an overview of his company's strategy going forward in the next year amidst a competitive landscape.

"We're very confident in our roadmap, and we understand how to win against the competition," said Blackmore.

Although voice is at the top of hierarchy, Blackmore reminded investors that there are plenty of other products surrounding communication and collaboration that ShoreTel offers -- most notably video solutions.

"The key to this is how much the users really use all this cool stuff," Blackmore posited, adding ShoreTel's software is "intuitive," a factor that he argued is absolutely necessary to attract customers today.

Blackmore added that "it's not just about voice," but also it is about the desk phone and desktop integration. Thus, a "desk phone on the go," he said, describing ShoreTel Mobility solutions such as the RoamAnywhere client.

"This will accelerate unified communications and give it more attraction," Blackmore predicted.

Another area where ShoreTel is looking to expand -- much like everyone else -- is the cloud. Acknowledging that there will be challenges, Blackmore said that as far as on-premise solutions go, ShoreTel has "a very rich feature set."

For example, ShoreTel is building out solutions with inter-operability for desktop video systems to interact with a life-size, video conferencing room set-up.

Also on the cloud front, chief marketing officer Kevin Gavin discussed M5 Networks, the hosted unified communications provider that ShoreTel acquired in February. Gavin said that ShoreTel will "ultimately retire the M5 name," and it will be fully integrated within ShoreTel's own cloud unit.

M5 Networks CEO Dan Hoffman explained why M5's cloud-hosted solution moved over to ShoreTel -- most of which resided on the facts that M5 could expand faster geographically and reach a larger customer and partner base with ShoreTel's resources.


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