business phone service is rolling out for clients of ShoreTel's M5 cloud division. Called ShoreTel Mobility, the new unified communications offering will enable M5 business customers to leverage a single converged device for both professional and personal communications.
The initial product launch only supports Apple's iPhones, but releases this summer will add support for Android smartphones and tablets, as well as BlackBerry devices from Research In Motion.
The goal is to help M5 customers embrace a bring-your-own-device policy while maintaining corporate identity by routing business calls to and from any ShoreTel Mobility user through their normal business phone number.
"We are empowering our clients to embrace" the latest mobile market trends "by extending our cloud phone system capabilities to the device that users love the most -- their own," noted ShoreTel Cloud Division President Dan Hoffman.
With ShoreTel Mobility, employees gain "the ease of using the device that is already in their pocket and giving the a way to reduce costs, while maintaining a consistent corporate identity and caller experience," Hoffman said Tuesday.
Adopting a Dual Persona
Beyond helping customers embrace new BYOD policies with confidence, ShoreTel Mobility's goal is to help companies save money by automatically switching between wireless hotspots and cellular networks for the best available coverage at any given moment. The technology promises to significantly reduce direct dial and international roaming charges on smartphones.
What's more, ShoreTel Mobility provides business professionals with the ability to adopt a dual persona that maintains the confidentiality of the personal phone numbers. The new technology is specifically designed to seamlessly separate their personal and business identities on a single mobile device.
The new mobile offering enables businesses to maintain accurate records of all the business calls being made by company employees. The aim is to give M5 clients additional metrics capabilities as well as accurate visibility into employee performance and the overall health of their businesses.
The platform also can serve as yet another plug-in option for further empowering the service provider's clients using other M5 cloud-based offerings, such as and ERP capabilities. The new offering is being made available to ShoreTel's cloud division clients in exchange for a $10 monthly fee per user.
Based in New York City, ShoreTel's M5 cloud division is focused on delivering cloud-based business phone services based on an internally developed platform that eliminates the need for small- or mid-sized businesses to make up-front capital investments in premises-based hardware deployments.
According to Gartner, M5 Networks has a reputation for sturdy customer service and actively measures customer satisfaction.
In a report released last December, Gartner analysts Daniel O'Connell and Bern Elliot advised small- or mid-size businesses with up to 1,000 employees to consider what M5 has to offer if they are seeking combined cloud VoIP and contact center capabilities.
"M5 Networks provides most customers with services and possesses network management tools to capture performance statistics," O'Connell and Elliot said.
"The company has shown the ability to integrate with the international offices of its U.S.-based customers -- typically via network broadband with the connection homing back to a U.S.-based M5 Networks' data center."