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ShoreTel redefines mobility and increases options with 6th generation of its pure IP telephony platform

Trademark flexibility, manageability, and ease of use get even better; new handsets and native SIP support expand options
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SAN DIEGO, Calif. - VoiceCon - August 29, 2005 - ShoreTel, Inc., the fastest growing IP PBX company in the United States and the leader in customer satisfaction, today announced ShoreTel 6, the sixth generation of its distributed IP PBX voice solution. ShoreTel redefines telephone mobility with a new Office Anywhere feature which supports mobile users irrespective of their location and the device they are using at the moment. ShoreTel's exceptional management and integration capabilities get even better with integrated software distribution, media encryption, on-net dialing, and increased support of international operations. ShoreTel has also delivered two new telephone devices, a low-end IP phone and a 24-button programmable button box for operators and assistants.

"The new Office Anywhere feature in ShoreTel 6 will be very useful to us because we have a number of people who are either working from home or traveling on any given day," said Robert Hall, coordinator of voice and data communications at Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District. "With Office Anywhere, we'll only need one phone number to reach them no matter where they are. Plus, transferring a caller from your cell phone is so easy. ShoreTel 6 also solves a big problem we have in distributing software upgrades because end users don't have administrative privileges - the new software distribution feature will save us a lot of work. In addition, the SIP interface in ShoreTel 6 is a big plus that allows us to expand our phone system beyond what ShoreTel offers, such as using a Polycom conference phone or integrating with sister districts that have other phone systems."

The unprecedented choice and flexibility in ShoreTel 6 provides users, system administrators, and managers with the freedom to work how and where they want, without sacrificing features and functions. An employee's work identity and profile can be put on any device, including cell phones and PDAs, which eliminates the need for multiple phone numbers and voicemail accounts. Customers also get more in-office options, thanks to the expansion and enhancement of ShoreTel's unique line of ergonomic IP phones and to support for SIP-based WiFi phones. Additionally, ShoreTel 6 has a native SIP interface that can support a wide variety of third-party applications.

"ShoreTel 6 allows the mobile professional to take the ShoreTel PBX functionality ‘on the road' no matter the actual telephone they may have at hand," said ShoreTel president and CEO John W. Combs. "Our latest IP telephony system molds itself to business processes and individual work habits, enabling enterprises to work smarter and be more responsive to customers by extending the power of the ShoreTel solution to any phone. And like its predecessors, ShoreTel 6 delivers such flexibility without complexity: Office Anywhere is completely integrated in the basic platform and does not require a separate purchase or server. Consequently, it is easy to deploy and offers quick return on investment - the keys to very satisfied customers."

"Office Anywhere" emancipates business

While traditional telephony and even many VoIP platforms are constraining business virtualization, ShoreTel 6 enables it with Office Anywhere. This groundbreaking mobility solution unleashes the full power of distributed IP telephony, letting a teleworker's device of choice-such as cell phone or home phone-assume the identity and capabilities of the worker's regular office extension. For example, the caller-ID information customers and partners receive can reflect the employee's office number instead of the mobile or home-office phone the employee is actually using to call them.

Office Anywhere lets employees use the Personal Call Manager to assign their office extension to an external phone. This provides a more reliable home office environment than soft or hard IP phones that use the Internet for voice conversations. In contrast, Office Anywhere leverages the reliability of the PSTN for voice, and the speed of DSL or cable modem connections for desktop call control, unified messaging, and other applications. Users get the best of both worlds.

Office Anywhere enables seamless participation in workgroups, hunt groups, and contact centers, and is an excellent solution for remote ACD agents and after-hours support. Office Anywhere also provides enterprises with a cost-effective way to pull small branch locations and home offices into the VoIP fold: It is an integrated feature of ShoreTel 6 and does not require any additional software license, equipment purchase, or infrastructure upgrade.

"Office Anywhere is a manifestation of ShoreTel's continued commitment to truly mobile telephony - delivering full office functionality to you no matter where you are, and making it easy to implement and use," said Combs.

Enhanced management

ShoreTel's IP PBX systems are renowned for their manageability, and ShoreTel 6 raises the ease-of-management bar to new heights. Software distribution has been simplified through integration with active directory group policies, making it easy for administrators to push new installations and upgrades of the desktop Call Manager software - ShoreTel's "personal PBX" - throughout the enterprise.

There is no need for local administrative privileges, or separate visits to each machine, and disruption to users is quite minimal. With such a powerful and simple tool, there is less resistance to implementing updates, so administrators keep the system more current.

The IT staff can also use security capabilities in ShoreTel 6 to prevent eavesdropping in sensitive environments. A high-performance algorithm encrypts and deciphers the RTP media stream in real time, enabling secure voice conversations to take place in real time with no noticeable latency.

Expanded dialing options in ShoreTel 6 accommodate the needs of large, widely distributed enterprises. On-net dialing is very flexible - for instance, it allows large customers to retain their four-digit dialing within a location yet use seven-digit dialing between sites. Dialing plan prefixes can extend across sites, and abbreviated dialing within sites is supported.

The overlapping extensions in ShoreTel 6 can help retail organizations to replicate storefronts across the country. A particular department can have the same number in every location, streamlining access for customers, co-workers, and suppliers. ShoreTel 6 enables companies to centralize and localize their businesses as needed and get the best of both worlds. The enhanced dialing plan feature can also be used in multi-tenant environments and as IP Centrex solutions allowing each customer to have their own "prefix" yet share the same system.

SIP support offers choice and flexibility

Session Initiation Protocol is the designated lingua franca for establishing, modifying, and terminating multimedia sessions - such as voice calls - on IP networks. In theory it enables mix-and-match multi-vendor environments and encourages specialization. ShoreTel 6's SIP interface complies strictly with the protocol's defining standard, the IETF's RFC 3261. Through this native SIP interface, ShoreTel 6 will support a wide variety of SIP-based products and services, including some leading WiFi access points and phones, conference room phones, residential access devices for teleworking, domestic and international trunking services, and BRI gateways.

New IP phones

The ShoreTel 6 release is being complemented by the expansion of ShoreTel's revolutionary line of sleek, ergonomic IP handsets. The new additions are the ShorePhone IP110 and the ShorePhone BB24 button box.

The ShorePhone IP110 extends ShoreTel's unique ergonomic styling to an entry-level IP phone that can be used as a desktop device but is particularly suited to dorm rooms and open areas such as break rooms, hallways, and classrooms. The IP110 includes an Ethernet switch with PoE support, can be used as a one-way intercom, and has an optional wall-mount kit. There are six hard keys (transfer, conference, intercom, redial, voice mail, and hold), and a 1-line, 16-character LCD display.

The ShorePhone BB24 jumps to the head of the button-box class, sometimes known as BLF, DSS or add-on model, as the first true Ethernet-based device. Instead of attaching through proprietary daisy-chain technology, the BB24 includes an Ethernet switch with PoE and supports power forwarding for one downstream device. The BB24 works in conjunction with the ShorePhone IP530 or IP560; up to four units can be daisy-chained together, versus only two from most other vendors. The BB24 boasts 24 programmable multi-color buttons that also provide presence information about the monitored users. Up to six characters per button are displayed on the device's backlit LCD display, so paper labels are a thing of the past. The BB24 targets phone operators and assistants.

Pricing and availability

ShoreTel 6 and the new ShoreTel handsets will be available September 15, 2005. New ShoreTel 6 systems typically range from $650 to $850 per user, depending on configuration. Existing customers with support agreements receive this system upgrade at no cost. The suggested retail price for additional language packs is $995. The ShoreTel IP110 phone lists for $149, and the ShoreTel BB24 button box lists for $349. ShoreTel products and services are available exclusively through authorized ShoreTel channel partners around the world.

About ShoreTel, Inc.

ShoreTel is the fastest growing IP PBX company in the United States and the leader in customer satisfaction. The company has shipped its groundbreaking solutions since 1998 and continues to outpace the rapidly expanding VoIP market with technological advances and sales that are doubling year over year. 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