ShoreTel emphasizes open standards expansion in new software release

ShoreTel emphasizes open standards expansion in new software release

Unified communications vendor ShoreTel has announced the global availability of ShoreTel 13, its latest software release, which includes enhanced capabilities for video communications and instant messaging.”The central theme of this release is further leveraging open standards, with capabilities that allow customers to get deeper leverage of openness to build deeper solutions,” said Jeff Ridley. Director of Product Management at ShoreTel. “ShoreTel continues to focus on building a solution for today’s workplace, which doesn’t create a hodgepodge of stuff but a solution with a rich set of capabilities, with open standards.”

Ridley cited as a key example the new ability through ShoreTel Communicator, the call manager application within ShoreTel 13, enabling users to participate in room-based video conferences using industry standard H.264 AVC technology.

“Customers typically have room videosystems, and the obvious combination is to bring those two worlds together of video and phone together, especially if a user is at a remote location where they won’t have a video system,” Ridley said. “Now they just use their Communicator, on an a SIP platform, to dial in the room they want to call, and they see what’s on desktop camera. This ability of our desktop communicator to connect into a video room system as one of the video end points is new in ShoreTel 13. We couldn’t do that before.”

ShoreTel 13 also introduces instant message capability for ShoreTel Communicator with Personal Access as a standard feature, giving every ShoreTel user access to IM at no additional cost for users.

“The big change with IM in this release is that it used to be a premium feature and we turned it into a basic capability,” Ridley said. “IM has become so common, it has become a table stakes feature.” Ridley also pointed out that the IM is open on the back end, so it can leverage other standards-based IM systems.

“It’s a similar story here as with video,” he said. “Customers have other IM systems they want to interoperate with, so we have opened it up so they can do that.”

Ridley said a third area of improvement is to SIP trunking interfaces.

“We have built in some additional capabilities here, with call features implemented into SIP and additional enhancements to protocols,” Ridley said. The result is a richer SIP feature set and interoperability.”

Ridley said some basic user interface improvements have also been made to improve the user experience and “wow” customers.

ShoreTel embraces open standards and continues to deliver new products based on SIP, XMPP and H.264. ShoreTel was among the first UC leaders to join the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF), a non-profit alliance of worldwide technology leaders working together to fully realize the potential of unified communications.

“We will work with anyone to certify their interoperability with our system,” Ridley said. “We are working closely with video partners for wider adoption of standards. They already have an agreement with LifeSize, and are working on one with Polycom, a ShoreTel partner. But don’t look for one with Cisco any time soon.

“It takes two to tango,” Ridley said.

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