SUNNYVALE, CA, April 19, 2004 - ShoreTel, Inc., formerly Shoreline Communications, today announced a next-generation Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system that scales to new heights and boasts a line of specially designed IP phones that make traditional handsets look, feel, and function like museum artifacts. Architectural advancements in the new software and hardware products put even more convergence benefits within easy reach of most companies and users, and affirm ShoreTel's position as the innovation leader in delivering IP telephony solutions to the enterprise.
Enhancements in the ShoreTel5 system include more collaboration-enabling applications, additional fault tolerance capabilities, new legacy-integration options, more flexible administration, and a switch that eases branch-office migration. However, the stars of the show are the sleek new IP phones specially designed by ShoreTel to create an even better user experience.
Business Telephony's New Look, Feel and Sound
"The IP handset is a crucial part of the user interface, but its outward design hasn't received much attention up until now," said ShoreTel CEO Thomas T. van Overbeek. "We sweated every detail to come up with a new breed of IP phone that provides a user experience worthy of our award-winning Personal Call Manager software."
ShoreTel's unique IP phones meet the key requirement of an intuitive user interface, providing access to a rich feature set without complicating the user experience. In particular, a highly ergonomic and visually appealing design makes them easy to grip, view, and interact with while offering high fidelity sound in both handset and speaker phone mode. The base has a concave profile that puts the keypad and display at optimum angles, and the tactile rubber keys accommodate aggressive dialing.
ShoreTel's design engineers did extensive testing with human subjects in order to come up with advancements in all three ergonomic dimensions: sight, touch and sound.
The phones have a display that is easy to read, and an aluminum coating that provides a sleek, space-age look.
The phones are carefully weighted and balanced, with ergonomically placed indentations for fingers and thumb. The plastic goes from hard to soft and from smooth to textured in just the right places.
The phones are the first to implement a wideband (16-bit) codec, which increases the available voice channel eightfold from 64K to 256K. This pushes the voice frequency range from one to three octaves, producing much better voice quality.
"Sound is by far the most important dimension of voice communication," says van Overbeek. "The new codecs, combined with some advanced acoustical engineering, produce a voice quality that is unbelievably clear, and give the devices a speakerphone with the kind of sound you expect from a high-end conference phone. The days of the speakerphone 'squawk box' are over!"
The ShoreTel IP phones come in three models, with the respective feature sets tailored to the needs of different categories of users:
- IP 210
The IP 210 is a cost-effective model aimed at general users, offering a single line appearance and four function keys.
- IP 530
The IP530 is designed for the professional user, incorporating three line appearances, eight function keys, four soft keys, and an Ethernet switch.
- IP 560
The IP560 targets executives and assistants, providing six line appearances for users who handle high call volumes and share call flows with others.
The standards-based devices support the IETF's Media Gateway Control Protocol, and can be powered over the same Ethernet cable that delivers the data packets, in accordance with the IEEE 802.3af specification.
"We really like the new ShoreTel phones and are very excited about the ShoreTel5 system enhancements," said Dennis Frost, Chief of Information Technology at Valent, a Walnut Creek, Calif.-based supplier of agricultural products. "ShoreTel has taken the principle behind its very user-friendly Personal Call Manager interface and applied it to the phones. The physical device has been incorporated into ShoreTel's great user interface, raising the user experience to a whole new level. The appearance of the phones is very attractive, thoughtfully laid out and professional looking. The sound quality is amazing. I can't tell the difference between my ShoreTel phone and the high-end phone in our conference room, even when using the speakerphone."
Collaboration Tools Boost Productivity
ShoreTel5 is also setting new standards as a collaboration platform. A new document-sharing feature lets one call participant drag any Microsoft Office document into the ShoreTel5 desktop application, Personal Call Manager, so the other participant(s) can see it.
Other new user-productivity features include 6-party add-on conferencing and call recording. Users can now initiate ad hoc conference calls with up to six participants. Users can also record conversations as necessary, with the recordings going to a designated mailbox.
Platform Enhancements Keep ShoreTel in Front
ShoreTel5 eases migration to VoIP by interfacing with legacy voicemail systems that are already in place. Enterprises can start implementing IP telephony incrementally without disrupting existing corporate voicemail standards. The integration is based on the SMDI industry standard, which allows third-party voice mail systems to integrate with the ShoreTel system.
Other architectural advances in ShoreTel5 include:
- Increased Scalability
The Personal Call Manager and Converged Conferencing applications can now be distributed across multiple servers, doubling the certified system-wide user capacity from 5,000 to 10,000.
- IP Phone Failover
In the unlikely event of a ShoreGear switch failure, the affected IP phones can simply reconfigure themselves to use a different switch. Individual ShoreGear switches already exceed the telecommunications industry's 99.999% reliability benchmark, so this new feature offers enterprises an even more fault-tolerant voice system.
- PSTN Failover
If a WAN link goes down, extension calls to and from the affected site are routed through the PSTN to ensure continued service. This makes the transition to VoIP risk-free.
- Role-Based Administration
Multi-level access control enables fine-grained delegation of administrative functions in large organizations. The management console can be limited to the scope of each administrator's job responsibilities.
- New Branch Office Switch
The ShoreGear-60/12 is a mid-range switch aimed at easing migration to IP telephony in branch offices. Each of its twelve ports can accommodate five IP phones or one analog line.
The new ShoreTel IP phones and ShoreGear-60/12 switch will be available from ShoreTel's channel partners in May. List prices are $229 for the IP210, $329 for the IP530, $429 for the IP560, and $2995 for the ShoreGear-60/12 switch.
About ShoreTel, Inc.
ShoreTel is the innovation leader in delivering IP telephony to the enterprise. The company has shipped its groundbreaking solutions since 1998 and continues to outpace the rapidly expanding VoIP market with technological advances and 100% year-over-year growth. ShoreTel voice systems are designed to make businesses smarter, setting new standards for usability and manageability while reducing telecommunications costs. A uniquely distributed architecture extends enterprise-class voice services to every office and outpost, keeping employees fully connected wherever they go. A select, worldwide group of channel partners provide top-notch service and support. For more information, visit http://www.shoretel.com or call 1-877-80SHORE.