You are here

Bring Your Own to the Smartphone Nation

Facebook LinkedIn Google+ Twitter


Apple iPhone 5 set record sales last week, with 2 million sold in the first 24 hours of preorders, more than double the record set in 2011, according to CIO. The slimmer, lighter and faster smartphone is clearly a hit. Adding to the joy are hundreds of new features in iOS 6, including improvements to Siri, integration with Facebook, and location-based alerts to help you find your friends and coworkers.

The launch of the iPhone five years ago has transformed work from a location to an activity. Smartphones, and more recently tablets, are convenient and productive. Having ready access to contacts, applications and data makes it easier to be available for business communications during more hours of the day. Enabling people to work outside of traditional office locations and hours allows businesses to be more responsive, productive and competitive.

Businesses have quickly realized that mobile revolution, including the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon, is a favorite with both managers and staff. With BYOD, workers can use their personal smartphones and tablets to access business applications and information. They can use their favorite devices and they no longer need to carry different mobile devices for work and personal use, while being able to receive and place both personal and business calls and ensure that unanswered business calls are sent to the business voicemail system.

ShoreTel Mobility expands that mobile convenience to unified communications (UC) and collaboration. With ShoreTel Mobility, companies can extend desk phone and UC capabilities to users’ favorite mobile devices anywhere and on any network, Wi-Fi or cellular. Workers can use their familiar smartphones and tablets, while gaining enhanced communications that simplifies business. Whether workers are in the office, at their homes, hotels or running through the airport, they can use UC features such as simultaneous ring, extension dialing, transfer, conference, enterprise directory query and presence.  With mobile UC, call recording and auditing, which may be necessary for financial services firms and in other industries, can be enforced on mobile phones.

Many organizations view BYOD as an opportunity to cut costs. Allowing workers to use their personal smartphones and tablets for work means that organizations need to buy fewer mobile devices for employees. Eliminating the capital expenses associated with smartphones, and increasingly tablets, can be a big savings, especially when you consider that people typically replace their smartphones and tablets far more often than they need new laptops or desktops.

While BYOD is an opportunity to cut capital costs, the jump in operational expenses can be a big shock. This is especially true for workers who do a lot of international travel, such as in manufacturing and financial services.

In fact, according to the Mobile Workforce Report, published by iPass, 43 percent of mobile workers reported that they had experienced an expensive data-roaming bill in the past year. The average cost of their monthly data bill was $1,098.

There’s a way to curb both capex and opex and still support the mobile freedom of choice. Solutions such as ShoreTel Mobility can cut cellular bills, especially international charges, by 30% to 70% with VoIP over Wi-Fi and VoIP over 3G/4G cellular and by eliminating cellular international direct dial with intelligent least cost routing through the PBX.

Many organizations have been slow to embrace BYOD because of security concerns from lost or stolen mobile devices or the rising threat of mobile malware. And they have reason to worry. According to a recent survey by Trend Micro, 46% of companies that permit BYOD reported experiencing a data or security breach as a result of an employee-owned device accessing the corporate network.

Most organizations are quick to realize that they need to set policies governing the use of mobile devices and applications. Mobile device management and mobile applications management tools can help them enforce those policies and manage large numbers of mobile devices and apps. ShoreTel works with leading mobile device management vendors such as MobileIron and IBM.

With ShoreTel Mobility, security for mobile UC is built in. Enterprise UC data is not stored on the phone, which mitigates the risk of lost or stolen devices. And all transmissions between the ShoreTel client on the mobile device and ShoreTel Mobility Router, which is integrated with the PBX infrastructure, are authenticated and encrypted. Enterprise communications are in a secure container, while a person’s own applications flow normally. Strong authentication and encryption methods are used, and a high level of security is maintained whether the person and the mobile device are in the office, at home or at a hotspot.

While workers typically had only one desktop or laptop, it’s commonplace to have multiple mobile devices. And that makes managing hundreds or even thousands of mobile devices an escalating challenge. BYOD complicates that challenge too. When employees choose their mobile devices from an IT-approved list, IT is in control. But BYOD means that IT must support a broad variety of smartphones and tablets, and IT may find itself support many different flavors of Android as well as Apple iOS and BlackBerry.

With ShoreTel Mobility IT have a single point of control and visibility for mobile UC across the company. IT can easily extend UC capabilities to personal mobile devices and ensure that the UC features and interface are consistent regardless of the phone or tablet. And IT can manage multiple smartphones and tablets, whether they use Android, Apple iOS or BlackBerry OS.