Enterprise IT groups can now tie in Android-based mobile devices to corporate directories and IP PBXs, with the latest update by ShoreTel to its mobility software.
ShoreTel Mobility 4.6 is server software, plus a mobile OS client -- in this case for Android 2.2 or higher -- that together let enterprises extend a range of IP PBX services and features to corporate- or employee-owned smartphones and tablets.
The software is based on code originally developed by Agito Networks, which ShoreTel acquired a year ago. The ShoreTel client integrates with the native dialer on the smartphone, and creates a new phone-based user interface to features on the PBX. The ShoreTel Mobility Router in the enterprise interfaces with an array of third-party IP PBX systems, and eliminates the need for a VPN, according to the vendor.
ShoreTel, located in Sunnyvale, Calif., offers an IP phone system and unified communications (UC) software for the enterprise. The company competes with Cisco, Avaya and others. Earlier this year, a Wisconsin school district scrapped a Cisco VoIP infrastructure for one based on ShoreTel.
With the new release of the ShoreTel Mobility software, Android phones now can use corporate PBX and unified communications features, such as putting a call on hold, conferencing, transferring, and having a single enterprise phone number and voicemail. Previously, ShoreTel Mobility supported iOS, BlackBerry OS and Nokia phones.
The ShoreTel client will look first to make a call over a Wi-Fi connection if available. If the user is outside the corporate firewall, the software detects this and automatically starts up the application-level SSL VPN.
The software can distinguish between personal calls and business calls. For example, friends calling the user's personal cell number are directed to personal voicemail, but a customer or colleague dialing the business number will be directed to the corporate voicemail.
Version 4.6 of ShoreTel Mobility is expected to be available in November, with server software ranging from $5,000 for 100 users to $15,000 for 5,000; individual users are licensed for a list price of $150.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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