ShoreTel Dock for iPad, iPhone Provides Desk, Mobile Hybrid

The ShoreTel Dock and App for iPhone and iPad let users combine the functions of a mobile phone, desk phone and soft phone into an easy-to-use corporate-managed solution that lets users plug device into the corporate PBX.

Jessica Davis

May 6, 2013

3 Min Read
The ShoreTel Dock lets users plug in their iPhones or iPads to the corporate PBX iPad users can adjust their Dock for either landscape or portrait
The ShoreTel Dock lets users plug in their iPhones or iPads to the corporate PBX. iPad users can adjust their Dock for either landscape or portrait view.

Building on user enthusiasm for mobile devices as well as IT requirements to ensure business security, IP phone system and unified communications vendor ShoreTel  (NASDAQ: SHOR)  has introduced a new docking station for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad that looks like a conventional desk phone, but lets users plug their mobile devices into the corporate PBX. Here are the details.

The dock is paired with a ShoreTel App for iPhone and iPad (Android support coming later) that gives administrators control and provides users with a business phone number and corporate extension number, but also supports the needs users have to retain some control over their own devices.  Users can dock their phone or tablet in the device, ensuring a full battery charge while in the office. For the iPad, the Dock can be adjusted for either landscape or portrait view.

ShoreTel VP of Product Management Pej Roshan told me that the company has seen a growing number of users that want to use their tablets as their primary communications device.

“They don’t want three phones: a desk phone, a mobile phone and a softphone,” he said. But mobile phones alone have limitations such as battery life, call quality and ergonomics, Roshan said. The ShoreTel Dock is designed to address these challenges.

The device itself offers a “comfort” dial tone when users pick up the handset and a hook set that depresses. It’s not a real dialtone, but it’s what users expect and so it’s been included, Roshan told me. (I’m holding out for a rotary dial version that I can plug my Apple Newton into.)

The device is priced at $349 list and the mobility client for the iPad and iPhone is $149.

While enterprises have shown a “significant interest” in the device, Roshan said the company has also received unexpected interest from end users who would like to buy a second device for home use or for when they are remote. Users can be reached on their same voice extensions whether they are at the office or at home.

Most of the functionality of the solution is actually inside the mobile app, including all the networking. The device leverages the WiFi function already built into the iPhone or iPad to connect with the corporate network. It can also use the 4G network or cellular network. Presence and instant messaging is also built into the app using ShoreTel's existing conferecing technology and leveraging the devices' capabilities via its native Facetime.

The user’s business phone number is in the ShoreTel app. The user’s device phone number remains his or her personal phone number.

The ShoreTel Dock and App integrate with the ShoreTel PBX as a native endpoint, but the Dock can also be attached to non-ShoreTel PBXes, Roshan said.

The device will be available in the summer. A subsequent version will include support for Android.

For small businesses without a dedicated on-premise PBX, the Shoretel Dock can be integrated with ShoreTel Sky and service will be priced at $9.99 per user per month.

ShoreTel is demoing the ShoreTel Dock and its portfolio of enterprise unified communications solutions at Interop 2013 in Las Vegas from May 7 to 9.


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About the Author(s)

Jessica Davis

Jessica Davis is the former Content Director for MSPmentor. She spent her career covering the intersection of business and technology.  She's also served as Editor in Chief at Channel Insider and held senior editorial roles at InfoWorld and Electronic News.

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