We’ve been hearing about Unified Communications for some time now but it still seems to be too hard to make it work easily for users. ShoreTel has released a new device, the ShoreTel Dock. It’s a docking station for iOS devices that makes the smartphone or tablet the hub of personal communications.
Most of the UC solutions we’ve looked at provide a handset for when you’re at your desk and a soft client for smartphones and tablets. ShoreTel’s approach is to rip most of the smarts out of the desktop handset and become completely reliant on the smartphone or tablet. ShoreTel's solution has a connector for power and the 30-pin dock connector for the iOS device. Android devices are supported via Bluetooth although there are some limitations. For example, you’ll need to use the touchscreen dialer rather than the ShoreTel Dock’s keypad.
What’s interesting about this approach is that you can initiate and receive calls on your portable device, without the need for some sort of handover to the desktop phone system.
All of this is interesting but we’re still wondering whether the technology of UC has met with the needs of businesses. When we talk to UC vendors and then chat with businesses, we see a disconnect between them.
Has UC reached the point where businesses have a need for all the features like IM, collaboration and handover between the office and mobile that they’re offering? What do you think?