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Wednesday, 08 May 2013 16:20

ShoreTel turns iPad & iPhone into a deskphone Featured


IP telephony and unified communications systems vendor ShoreTel has released a dock for iOS devices that, in conjunction with ShoreTel's softphone app, turns the mobile device into a desktop speakerphone.

According to ShoreTel ANZ managing director, Jamie Romanin, the ShoreTel Dock has been developed in recognition of the fact that for many workers their mobile device is now their primary telephone and to overcome its limitations, particularly battery life and poor speakerphone capability.

The ShoreTel Dock is designed to work in conjunction with the ShoreTel Mobility app, which in turn works with ShoreTel's IP telephony systems. The user simply inserts their iPhone or IPad into the cradle on the Dock. This action launches the ShoreTel Mobility app enabling the Dock's dialpad and speakerphone and the Dock starts charging the phone.

The Mobility App and the iPad continue to function as normal enabling the user to set up conferences using ShoreTel's conferencing service, or to use other apps while a call is in progress.

A key feature of the ShoreTel Mobility app is that, in conjunction with an appliance attached to the ShoreTel telephony system it enables calls to be handed off from a corporate WiFi network to a cellular network and vice-versa.

According to Romanin, "We have developed the industry's first enterprise grade docking station transforming the iPhone and iPad into a true deskphone, something that nobody else, globally, has been able to do for the business sector. It couples the convenience of a mobile with the feel of a deskphone."

The Dock provides no communication function. That continues to be through the iPad/Phone via either the cellular network or WiFi. However the device can be inserted into or removed from the Dock without interrupting a call.

At present only the old Apple 35 pin connector is supported, but Romanin said support for the new Lightening connector would be provided by year-end. Also in the pipeline is support for Android devices. This presents more of a challenge because of the multiple versions of Android and of devices with different connector configurations.

"We focussed on iPhone and iPad because they are bigger than anything else, but we recognise the trend and we are working tirelessly on developing something for Android," Romanin said. "Android presents some challenges. We have some unique solutions to address those and we expect to see an Android docking station towards the end of the year."

In the meantime newer iOS devices, Android and Blackberry devices can use the Dock via Bluetooth pairing. However in this mode the dialpad is inactive. (Blackberry 10 is not presently supported. Romanin said that ShoreTel was "still investing in BlackBerry.")

The ShoreTel Dock is planned to be available Q3 of 2013, with an expected list price of $US349. Romanin said that local prices would be the equivalent in the local currency.

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