ShoreTel has announced two new releases optimized for using the Apple iPad as a business communications tool. ShoreTel Mobility 6 and ShoreTel Conferencing's latest features are designed to enable integrated collaboration capabilities and increase accessibility for mobile users.
The ShoreTel Mobility 6 native iPad user interface enables multi-modal communications so users can:
- place and receive calls with their business persona (desk phone caller ID),
- exchange instant messages,
- listen to voice mail messages, and
- create multi-party calls by dragging names from enterprise directories.
Users can place calls from their iPad using the speaker or a Bluetooth headset, and security is offered via an integrated VPN SSL encryption that is automatically enabled for the user.
ShoreTel Conferencing's collaboration capabilities for iOS allow shared presentations with remote participants; the presentations are controlled by the user's iPad or iPhone. Desktops can also be shared with PCs and Macs.
Michael Finneran, principal at dBrn Associates, commented in a statement, "We've seen widespread endorsement of BYOD initiatives across the board. And based on our latest research, Apple devices appear to be coming into the enterprise at almost twice the rate of Android. ShoreTel's focus for making mobile applications easy to use could lead to higher user adoption."
Peter Blackmore, chief executive officer, ShoreTel, added, "ShoreTel transforms the iPad into a true multi-modal business communications device. By combining these applications together in a manner that is brilliantly simple for employees to use, businesses can feel comfortable supporting a BYOD policy to drive effective communications and enhance productivity."
ShoreTel Mobility 6 and ShoreTel Conferencing are available as free downloads from the Apple App Store. While both applications are available for Apple iPad, iPad mini, iPhone and iPod touch users, some functionality is limited on smaller screens. ShoreTel Mobility 6 voice applications are also available for ShoreTel Sky customers, and SIP-supported IP PBXs from Avaya and Cisco Systems.
Our observations: Although we concluded earlier this year that tablets aren't quite ready to replace the PC or laptop for business users, we are pleased to see continued integration of tablets into the unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) ecosystem. And we'll continue to monitor integrated UC&C features for tablets, holding out hope that we can someday leave the laptop at home when we travel.