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A docking station in every port

A docking station in every port

One vendor's approach to making devices work for UC

Last October, ICT reasearch organisation, Infonetics Research, recorded some interesting observations out of survey of UC purchasers at medium- and large-sized companies.The sum of it is that for most of those buyers, mobile device integration is ranked “very important” in choosing a unified communications solution for a very good reason.

These companies are now seeing tablets and smartphones as the primary access point for the purposes of UC, surpassing the desktop and landlines.

If this survey of 102 UC purchase decision makers is any bellwether, the hype about BYOD seems to be really taking shape. It isn’t just vendors talking about it anymore.

It’s the customers themselves that are finally putting mobility into action.

According to the survey, Cisco is still king of the installed UC suppliers, with Microsoft placing, and IBM for a show. It’s a highly competitive race, that includes ShoreTel, a UC company that is angling for a leap by marketing its new device/tablet docking station months before an anticipated release at the end of 2013.

According to the company’s ANZ managing director Jamie Romanin, the new solution is aimed at solving the ergonomics, voice quality problems and PBX functionality that all UC mobility users face, time-to-time, when simply left to their own devices, so to speak.

“It’s not comfortable to hold a device for long time and it isn’t good for conference calls, and the battery life is always an issue,” says Romanin. “We feel like we’ve addressed those things with the docking station. We give the feel and touch of a desk phone, with high grade audio speaker phone, and because you plug in the docking station, that solves the battery life issue.”

The Sydney-based Romanin spoke with Reseller News from the Melbourne Airport Qantas lounge. The first call dropped, not a good way to start a conversation about UC, Romanin joked. But the second try worked a charm.

With a UC client on a smartphone, such as the ShoreTel client Romanin was using, the call seems to be coming from a desk, which is partly the idea. UC gives the illusion of touching base with a person at their desk, whether or not they are actually there.

Romanin calls UC mobility “undesking the deskphone” and says that is the entire idea behind the docking station.

Romanin hopes there will be opportunitities in the education and health sector for this solution, beyond the mobile executive or salesperson. The company is in discussion with a hospital in Australia to deploy docking stations, giving staff more mobility in dealing with patients.

The early announcement was caluclated to make a splash at the Interop 2013 conference in Las Vegas in the first week of May, in order to touch base with potential distributors and customers passing through.

The docking station will be demonstrated at CIO magazine’s CIO Summit in June in Auckland, in partnership with sponsor Telesmart.

Romanin says the company is lowering the barrier of entry for new resellers to get on board with the applications and the dock. In the past, he says, partners were mandated to be certified in sales and in the technology, to be able to deploy and support the product.

There is also a mandate for a third-part wireless management certification as well, including Ruckus, Aruba, HP or Cisco, “we mandate they have to show us their expertise beause everying relies on that network,” Romanin says.

Now, the barrier is lowered to introduce a sales-only model so that they can simply sell and promote the product and leverage ShoreTel or the distributor to support and deploy the product.

“We really want as many partners out there promoting and discussing this with their customers,” he says. “If customers aren’t doing this now, they’ll be looking at it in the next few years.”

The company distributes through Connect NZ spin off distrobutor, IDvio.


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