One Phone System. Three Delivery Models. You Choose...
On-premise telephone deployments provide a level of security and assurance that has been difficult to relinquish among IT administrators. However, the scalability of virtual phone systems delivered completely via the cloud is too enticing to pass up. So what are administrators and business owners to do with so many options? Enter ShoreTel Connect. This cutting edge hybrid model allows the flexibility and convenience of a hosted model with the security and reliability of traditional on-premises systems. ShoreTel Connect: an easy-to-use communications platform that works as hard and fast as you do.
ShoreTel Connect Desktop Client
Unique Common Platform, User Experience for Cloud, Onsite and Hybrid Unified Communications.
Let's talk user experience. After all, a phone system is only as good as the user adoption levels correct? No matter how strategic an architecture design is or even how reliable the system is in general, if your end users can't use the system, no one is going to be happy. The new ShoreTel Connect Phone System provides one, easy to use, intuitive experience for every user, on every device, from any location. Let's start by taking a look at the desktop client as it appears after start up and through expansion.
ShoreTel Connect Director
Simple System Administration that adds to Your Bottom Line.
ShoreTel Connect Director platform delivers a unique system management control experience, allowing administrators to control all phones, permissions, applications, trunks and voice switches from a simple interface. ShoreTel Director is a browser-based network management tool that provides a single management interface for voice and collaboration applications across all locations. Instead of using separate management systems for multiple PBX, voicemail and automated attendant systems, ShoreTel Director makes it extremely easy and intuitive with its all-in-one approach.
ShoreTel System Architecture
ShoreTel Voice Appliances
The ShoreTel Phone System is designed for simplicity and scalability. ShoreTel appliances are the core of the ShoreTel system, running Linux or VXWorks, they are solid state with a mean time between failure of better than 13 years. Each appliance provides a certain number of IP resources, allowing you to connect to carrier phone lines, IP phones, analog devices and overhead paging. The capacity of each appliance ranges between 30-500 users on a 1U half-width device. The ShoreTel appliances can be added at anytime allowing our clients to grow from 5-20,000 users without a hardware upgrade. By providing an additional spare appliance anywhere on the network, if an appliance fails, the phones automatically register to the spare appliance creating seamless failover.
Optional Tool Sets
ShoreTel's design grants clients flexibility to deploy the advanced feature sets on-demand with appliances, stand-alone servers or in a VSphere in environment. ShoreTel Mobility, the software enabling smart phone users full desktop functionality with an app, is an example of an add-on component you may consider. The Collaboration appliance/server gives users the ability to Instant Message with other users and provide audio and web conferencing. This platform is deployed at no cost on a VSphere cluster giving users IM out of the box, the web/audio conferencing is a low-cost license by a concurrent port usage. A relatively new add-on is the Edge Gateway, allowing both phones and ShoreTel Connect Software users to work anywhere they have internet connectivity. The Edge Gateway uses WEB RTC to launch VPN tunnels to the core system.
Key Benefits and Features
Mobility – Stay connected anywhere with ShoreTel Mobility, an application that gives mobile workers the same dynamic features they’ll find in the office, available on their mobile device
Presence – Allow end users to see who is available, on a call, in a meeting, or out of the office
Instant Message – Improve efficiency and collaboration with intuitive IM features
Conferencing – Brilliantly simple solutions for web and audio conferencing make collaboration stress-free
ShoreTel is Now Mitel
In the summer of 2017 Mitel acquired ShoreTel, combining forces to become the second largest Unified Communications provider in the industry.
What Does this Mean for ShoreTel Customers?
ShoreTel has tens of thousands of customers along with millions of users on its platform. If you're reading this, you're likely one of them. What does this pending merger mean for the companies who have invested a lot of time, money, and resources in a ShoreTel system? Here are a few thoughts to consider:
ShoreTel's software platform will be cultivated, not canned. The value of ShoreTel's offering is their next-level software tools and simplicity, so the natural conclusion would be that Mitel will want to capitalize on that value. Mitel is known for having highly reliable software, and ShoreTel is known for having very innovative, forward-thinking software, so if anything, customers should expect long-term improvements on the ShoreTel Connect platform in terms of quality and reliability. Since 2011, Mitel CEO Rich McBee has led Mitel through about half a dozen acquisitions, and the company has a clear pattern of taking the product on, supporting it, and growing it. This was especially the case with the 2007 Inter-Tel acquisition that birthed the Mitel 5000, which is still available today as an updated version of the original Inter-Tel 5000 platform. ShoreTel customers should be confident in the likelihood that Mitel will see even more value from the rapidly growing ShoreTel Connect platform, which has the unique flexibility to be utilized either on-premise or in the cloud, using the same desktop software (something Mitel's platform cannot accomplish today).
ShoreTel's hardware portfolio will expand significantly. The other key benefit for ShoreTel customers will be the addition of Mitel's hardware to the ShoreTel product set. If Mitel follows the Inter-Tel pattern, they will make phone hardware interchangeable, allowing its end users the ability to purchase Mitel phones. ShoreTel standardizes on virtually 4 different phone models (not including the 10/100 counterparts), while Mitel has dozens of different options for physical handsets, and many of them are very feature rich and powerful. A larger variety of application-tailored handsets is something many ShoreTel customers have been missing out on for years, but this merger may very well change that.
What Does this Mean for ShoreTel Partners?
ShoreTel is a channel-centric company and has partners all around the world who are likely wondering what is next for their ShoreTel practice. We can make a few educated speculations based on Mitel's history of acquisition:
ShoreTel's partner channel will be valued. Mitel has always remained a partner-focused company throughout all of its acquisitions. With the acquisition of ShoreTel, Mitel will have about 3,200 channel partners and a workforce of about 4,200 employees. For ShoreTel partners, an acquisition by Mitel should be a sigh of relief compared to the uncertainty of the past year and compared to an acquisition by a company like Cisco (who couldn't care less about ShoreTel's channel) or a carrier looking to enter the UCaaS market (who may not embrace the traditional VAR service model).
ShoreTel's global reach will be extended. Something exciting about the merger is the reach that will be added for ShoreTel globally. Mitel has been better positioned in the global arena for some time, and this allows ShoreTel to take advantage of the global distribution and agreements Mitel has made. Which could all potentially speed up the global availability of ShoreTel's fast growing cloud practice, only recently launched in a few countries outside the U.S. (Canada, Australia, UK). Compare that to Mitel's World Cloud offering, which is available in more than 40 countries. As a result of the merger, ShoreTel partners will be better positioned to serve their multi-national clients.
We are excited to see the choice of Mitel, a channel focused organization with a long history of making robust and reliable telecom solutions, aligning well with ShoreTel's mid-market sweet spot. Mitel and ShoreTel are a strong combination that will deliver new value for clients and shareholders alike.