ShoreTel docks into local VoIP market

Big players challenged by new entrant

Australian enterprise IP phone system buyers now have another vendor to choose from with US-based ShoreTel launching its local operations.

While the official launch happened this week, ShoreTel claims to have more than 20 local customers resulting from its existing channel partner business which began over 12 months ago.

As reported by Computerworld, former Zultys regional head Tony Warhurst was appointed ShoreTel's managing director for the South East Asian region late last year.

Warhurst said ShoreTel is bridging the gap between traditional PABXs and modern, IP-based phone systems by building VxWorks-based appliances that use flash memory to minimize the number of moving parts and hence increase reliability.

The company also manufactures its own brand of VoIP desk phones.

ShoreTel also announced a new deal for a 130-user IP telephony system with insolvency firm Ferrier Hodgson at its Sydney office.

Ferrier Hodgson's IT manager, Mustafa Mohabbat, said after a review of ShoreTel's phones, they were found to be more functional than competing products and easier to use.

"There are a lot of 'smarts' in the handset, which means less traning for staff," Mohabbat said. "We looked at systems from Avaya and Samsung, but ShoreTel won out on value and the company's approach to service."

"It provided the most simple deployment and administration out of all the systems we tested. You can control everything via a Web interface and the clients can be pushed out using Microsoft's Group Policy Management Console."

ShoreTel systems are not yet SIP compliant and do not support third-party desk or software phones, but Warhurst said it will be in future software releases and SIP trunking is available now.

Warhust said the ShoreTel platform is scalable from 10 to 10,000 users and can be expanded to meet an organizations growth patterns. He also said the systems are less restrictive than competing products which force customers to buy licences to increase the number of users which can connect to the switch.

ShoreTel's software supports directory replication between switches at remote sites and unified messaging, and integrates with Microsoft Outlook.

Partners Connector Systems from New Zealand and Sydney-based PTS Communications have also been appointed by ShoreTel.

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