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Jon Arnold: ShoreTel Investor Day 2012 – Implications for UC

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I was fortunate to be one of a few industry analysts invited to attend this week’s landmark update from ShoreTel to the financial analyst community in their hometown of San Francisco. Joining me from the UCStrategies group was Blair Pleasant and Stephen Leaden, and if you followed our tweets, you already know the gist of what was discussed.

We heard a lot of validation about the momentum behind the cloud and how well ShoreTel is holding its own in the very competitive IP telephony market. Cisco and Avaya remain dominant, but the gap between Avaya and the #3 players is shrinking, and depending on who you talk to, it’s either ShoreTel or Mitel. I don’t think it matters who’s #3 here, as I think most people would say ShoreTel is faring better, and is perhaps positioned the best of all these vendors for what’s driving the market today.

I wouldn’t be saying that without M5 being in the picture, as this now gives ShoreTel a play on both sides of the fence – premise-based or cloud – and could prove to be the best model as everyone struggles to figure out where cloud is taking things (as Kevin Gavin said, “we can say yes to both”). So, what makes M5 so special? As CEO Dan Hoffman noted, their business is like real estate, with three key drivers – “reliability, reliability, reliability”. Unlike most hosted/cloud providers, they run VoIP over secure, private networks, and perform best with MPLS-enabled customers. This gives them a leg up on most competitors for the most fundamental characteristic of a voice service, as many offerings run over the public Internet, where QoS is difficult to apply at best.

Read more at Unified Communications Strategies.