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So important to the networking segment is mobility that few companies see a point in separating their mobility strategies from their core networking strengths anymore. In VoIP and unified communications, for example, “mobility” often means how well a customer can extend the features and security of its networking technologies all the way to the mobile edge -- and not lose any flexibility.
Credit ShoreTel for being ahead of the pack in that regard: ShoreTel Mobility, launched following its acquisition of Agito Networks in October 2010, is a vendor-agnostic solution that allows companies to extend the features of their existing PBX and UC infrastructure to the mobile edge, cutting down on international calling charges and making enterprise-grade mobile communications far less cumbersome.
“This is a game-changer for us, and the reason is we can now sell into people who have another PBX,” said Don Gulling, president of Verteks Consulting, an Ocala, Fla., ShoreTel partner. “You hear, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I already bought a Cisco so in seven years I’ll call you back.’ But we say, ‘Great, awesome. We’ve got something that they don’t have that we’d like to show you.’ It’s a sales revenue stream that we didn’t have before that we can sell into now. That’s huge.”
Cisco is also flexing serious mobility muscle with its Cius tablet, an Android-based mobile device it sees as a UC endpoint, capable of doing everything from videoconferencing to virtual desktop infrastructure in a business-grade tablet form factor.
Most of the wireless vendors, from Meru Networks to Ruckus Wireless, also have good mobility stories to tell. Aruba Networks, for example, continues to go wide and deep with its Mobile Virtual Enterprise, or MOVE, architecture, which offers a slate of mobilityfocused wireless networking products designed for context-aware networking. Among other vendors with ideal mobility solutions for SMB is Digium, whose latest release for its Switchvox open-source VoIP-PBX platform added fixed mobile convergence.