ShoreTel Updates UC Platform For Video Connectivity

Whereas last year's release of ShoreTel 12 updated the platform's audio conferencing, Web conferencing, presence and IM features, ShoreTel 13 extends its capabilities further into video room system connectivity.

Thanks to an update to ShoreTel Communicator, the platform's call manager application, users can now use Communicator to participate in room-based videoconferences using H.264 AVC-enabled endpoints, and ShoreTel has tested integration with LifeSize and Polycom systems already.

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"We didn't build a new MCU -- we see the value of leveraging existing infrastructure," said Dieter Rencken, senior product manager for ShoreTel. "And, we're not asking for complex IP address-type calling; you simply populate the room system as another extension in your directory."

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"We're a relatively small company and don't try to be all things to all people," added Kevin Gavin, ShoreTel's chief marketing officer. "The world doesn't need another flavor of room system compatibility, so we see the key as being able to join [users'] room systems."

ShoreTel 13 also includes instant messaging for ShoreTel Communicator with Personal Access, whereas before, only customers using the Professional version of the software had standard access to IM. Those users can also leverage SIP trunking capabilities from service providers, such as improved diagnostics, trunk out-of-service detection and SIP media proxy.

In addition, customers can now also use standards-based IM servers, such as ShoreTel's XMPP IM server or Microsoft Lync, with their Communicator.

The upgrade to ShoreTel 13 is free to existing customers with a ShoreTel maintenance agreement, Rencken and Gavin said, and is available as of Tuesday.

ShoreTel's UC and contact center platforms remain its bread and butter, although the company has made substantial investments in the past two years to expand its ShoreTel mobility and cloud communications strategies, the latter on the back of its spring acquisition of hosted UC provider M5 Networks, now ShoreTel Cloud Division.