ShoreTel Receives Nemertes Research PilotHouse Top Provider Award for IP Telephony for Eighth Year in a Row

ShoreTel Receives Nemertes Research PilotHouse Top Provider Award for IP Telephony for Eighth Year in a Row

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Aug 02, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — ShoreTel(R) SHOR +0.46% , the leading provider of brilliantly simple IP phone systems with fully integrated unified communications (UC), today announced that, for the eighth year in a row, it has received the highest ratings for IP telephony products from IT decision makers in the Nemertes Research annual PilotHouse Awards report.

The high ratings earned ShoreTel the Nemertes PilotHouse Award for Top IP Telephony Provider among Market Challengers. Nemertes, an independent research firm based in Illinois, received ratings for 22 IP telephony vendors and determined the award solely on the views and experiences of more than 2,000 actual users of IP telephony systems.

ShoreTel’s overall score of 4.32, was above all vendors examined.

Customers rated their providers on a scale of 1 to 5 in the following categories: Technology, Customer Service, and Value. ShoreTel scored above a 4 rating in all categories. Nemertes analysts also conducted in-depth conversations with a subset of IP telephony decision-makers to understand the reasons behind the results.

— Technology: Technology ratings examine how customers view sophistication, features and implementation of the product. ShoreTel received a rating of 4.18 for technology. The report states, “ShoreTel has kept pace with technology innovation, invested in and integrated mobility into its platform through its Agito acquisition, and provides the integrated UC functionality including conferencing and high-quality desktop video that its IP telephony customers want.”

— Customer Service: Customer-service ratings look at technical support, responsiveness to deployment issues, sales support and general customer care. ShoreTel received a 4.18 rating for customer service, surpassing last year’s score of 4.10, with the report noting that ShoreTel has built its brand on solid customer service.

— Value: The value rating measures what customers think about what they get for their money. With a score of 4.65, ShoreTel received the highest score of all the IP telephony vendors in any market category. The report cites IT professionals feel the solution is affordable and easy to implement and operate. Respondents told Nemertes they “get a good bang for their buck” and the IT director of a midsize transportation company said plainly, “I like the simplicity.”

“What makes ShoreTel successful is our focus on clear product differentiation, low total cost of ownership and our commitment to continuously improving customer satisfaction. Adding new capabilities such as mobility to drive new revenue streams, product simplicity and quality shows our focus on Brilliant Simplicity is working. We are honored to win this award for the eighth year running as this demonstrates that we continue to deliver on these promises.”

– Peter Blackmore, CEO, ShoreTel

“For the unprecedented eighth straight year, ShoreTel claims the top prize in IP telephony. ShoreTel obviously is doing something right; no vendor ever has consistently won the same category multiple years as ShoreTel has in IP telephony.”

Things to consider when considering VoIP

Great VoIP overview by Mike Bayer of Select Telecom & Technologies.  To read the original article, click here.

IP telephone systems have been on the market for years. The reliability of existing digital phone systems was good enough that a company could keep a system for 10+ years before issues made it necessary to be replaced. With the economy improving, digital systems aging and the buzz of IP features such as Unified Communications, Mobility and SIP Trunking; now may be the time to give IP Telephone Systems a hard look. We have assembled 5 Frequently Asked Questions to help you in your discovery process.

1).  Why are IP Telephone Systems considered better than Digital ones? The simple answer is applications. IP telephony allows for features not available in the digital arena. The major ones being:

  • Support for off site employees; telecommuting. This is the ability to have a telephone or telephone software residing on a PC to be connected to your office’s phone system by way of an internet connection. This is considered VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol.
  • Ability to seamlessly network multiple systems over the internet. You can have 4 digit dialing between offices, share a receptionist and cut down on long distance costs since calls between offices are free. You can access the dial tone of a networked office to make a “local” call; local to them but long distance to you.
  • SIP trunking. This is a feature rich network service priced lower than traditional outside lines and even PRI. SIP supports DID (Direct in Dialing) and is location agnostic. Need a Manhattan telephone number for inbound or outbound dialing? No problem! Want to ring your office phone and cell phone simultaneously? Piece of cake!
  • Unified Communications (UC). This is the next generation of the voice mail/ auto attendant. With UC you get FAX to the desktop, Visual voice mail, Chat features, Click to dial from your Outlook contacts, Voice mail and e-mail to your mobile device. The list goes on.
  • Fixed Mobility Convergence (FMC). This allows your smartphone to connect and be switched between your IP phone system and your wireless carrier. Your IPhone/Droid/Blackberry is now your office phone, but only when you’re in the mood. When you leave your office, FMC seamlessly puts you on your wireless carrier. When you’re back in the office or at a Wi-Fi hotspot, FMC switches you off your wireless carrier and back on to the wireless LAN to eliminate network charges.

2).  What don’t I know about moving to an IP system that may haunt me later? Your local area network (LAN) is now your telephone network. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have Cat5e or Cat6 cabling to every extension? If not, what are the costs associated?
  • Do I have Quality of Service software (QoS) in my routers? Without QoS, voice and data are treated equally. Since voices (and video) are time sensitive, lack of QoS may result in latency, jitter or dropped calls.
  • Is my IT department technically astute enough to set up a V-LAN (virtual LAN) allowing the voice traffic to be segregated from the data traffic?
  • Are my data switches Power over Ethernet (POE) compliant? If not every IP telephone will need an AC adaptor for power. If you have a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) for the data equipment, you could still lose the ability to make phone calls during a power outage.

3).  Can I upgrade my current system or is this a forklift upgrade? That depends. If your current telephone system vendor supports IP and has a strong migration policy, you may be in luck. If your vendor has stopped production or has been absorbed by a larger company, you may have little choice but to purchase a new system. Talk to the supplier who installed your current system for details.

4).  What about downloading free telephony software off the internet? That can be done (on some platforms). You’re downloading an open source PBX software package typically on a LINUX platform, although a variety of operating systems are supported. It’s the PBX software that transforms the LINUX based platform into a communication server. It is free, but requires programming expertise. Unless you’re a system’s integrator, you’d be wiser to get a turnkey software package which resides on the open system. Designing and maintaining IP telephony software is not for the faint of heart.

5).  Is an IP system future proof? As engineers like to say, “Anything that leaves the drawing board is obsolete.” IP, VoIP and SIP are entrenched protocols which should stay on the forefront of telecommunications for years to come. We all realize that technology is constantly improving. With that in mind, IP telephony may today be the 21st century’s answer to a technology that’s been around for well over 100 years.

My goal is to educate and entertain. My philosophy is that technology is a tool to add to the bottom line, increase customer retention and implement profitable processes. Buzz words are the tool of those who have no interest in your business but want your money to get the “latest and greatest”, “cutting edge” etc.

For more information on our VoIP solutions, please contact us at 502.459.9141.

 

Unified Technologies’ Completes ShoreTel Implementation at Kentucky’s 2nd Largest Credit Union

After thoroughly evaluating communication solutions from ShoreTel, Cisco, and Avaya; Kentucky’s 2nd largest credit union, Commonwealth Credit Union, awarded Unified Technologies a contract to replace their Avaya platform with the ShoreTel IP Platform.  Following several months of information gathering, planning, and project management; the new solution was implemented and has been operational for over a month now.

Anne Burgess, CIO of Commonwealth Credit Union, sums up the entire project the best…

“Due to the nature of our business, we knew a smooth project implementation was key to the overall success of this project. Unified Technologies did an excellent job of listening and understanding the criticality of this project to our overall business.  Their planning of the implementation and the level of detail in their project plan was exceptional.   The project was well implemented and was seamless to our employees and Credit Union members.  I have received nothing but good comments about the new system and our employees love the ease of use and the system’s advanced functionality.  From my perspective, Shoretel provides all the features we currently need and the ability to add additional functionality as required in the future…and Unified Technologies provides the technical expertise that is critical to ensure successful project outcome.

For more information on ShoreTel or to find out how Unified Technologies can assist you in your communications project, please contact:

Brian Borgman • 502.708.3335 • bborgman@unified-team.com

Unified Technologies’ June VoIP Seminars

Join the Unified Team for our bi-monthly VoIP seminar (featuring the ShoreTel Platform) on Wed., June 15th (Louisville, KY) or Thurs., June 16th (Lexington, KY).  Below is past attendee feedback and general information on our upcoming June seminar.  For additional information or to reserve your seat, please click on one of the button links below.  As always, our seminars are free but they do require a reservation; as we provide lunch for all attendees.

Register for UT VoIP Lunch Seminar (Louisville, KY) in Louisville, KY  on Eventbrite Register for UT VoIP Lunch Seminar (Lexington, KY) in Lexington, KY  on Eventbrite

What others are saying about our VoIP seminars…

Scott Wilson – Stites & Harbison… “The simplicity of the seminar really helped us through the buying process.”

Bobby Bailey – Louisville Geek… “Concise, relevant and presented in layman’s terms…That’s how Unified gets the VoIP message across.  This seminar respects your schedule by getting you the info you need in a timely fashion.”

Bobb Snip – Sacred Heart Schools… “The seminar really helped us understand VoIP and how simple it would be for us to manage.”

Jeff Collins – Lantech…“We spent 6 months researching and comparing VoIP solutions before deciding on a partner.  The Unified Technologies seminar was a key tool in educating us.”

Duane Hellums – Galen College…“I appreciated listening to a varied level of speaker, from corporate to sales and to the lower-level engineering discussions…as well as having other companies there that could speak to specific capabilities or specialized cases.” 

Duane Ray – Van Zandt, Emerich, & Cary… “The VoIP seminar helped us determine the parameters of our VoIP project.  It was great to get feedback from some of the Unified’s other customers who had already gone through the decision-making process and implementation of a new VoIP platform in their own businesses.”

Register for UT VoIP Lunch Seminar (Louisville, KY) in Louisville, KY  on Eventbrite Register for UT VoIP Lunch Seminar (Lexington, KY) in Lexington, KY  on Eventbrite

Unified Technologies’ VoIP Seminar Details…

WHO: Anyone interested in VoIP technology

WHAT: Overview, demo, and panel discussion on VoIP technologies…free lunch as well!

WHEN: Louisville, KY – Wednesday, June 15th from 11:00am – 1:30pm.  Lexington, KY – Thursday, June 16th from 11:00am – 1:30pm.

WHERE: Louisville, KY – Sam Swope Scout Center at 12001 Sycamore Station Place   Louisville, KY.  Lexington, KY – Lexington Country Club 2550 Paris Pike Lexington, KY.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact our office at 502.459.9141.

Unified Technologies’ VoIP Seminar

Join the Unified Team for our bi-monthly VoIP seminar (featuring the ShoreTel Platform) on April 12th (Louisville, KY) or April 13th (Lexington, KY).  Below is past attendee feedback and general information on our upcoming April seminar.  For additional information or to reserve your seat, please click on one of the button links below.  As always, our seminars are free but they do require a reservation.

Register for UT VoIP Lunch Seminar (Louisville, KY) in Louisville, KY  on Eventbrite Register for UT VoIP Lunch Seminar (Lexington, KY) in Lexington, KY  on Eventbrite

What others are saying about our VoIP seminars…

Bobby Bailey – Louisville Geek… “Concise, relevant and presented in layman’s terms…That’s how Unified gets the VoIP message across.  This seminar respects your schedule by getting you the info you need in a timely fashion.”

Bobb Snip – Sacred Heart Schools… “The seminar really helped us understand VoIP and how simple it would be for us to manage.”

Jeff Collins – Lantech…“We spent 6 months researching and comparing VoIP solutions before deciding on a partner.  The Unified Technologies seminar was a key tool in educating us.”

Duane Hellums – Galen College…“I appreciated listening to a varied level of speaker, from corporate to sales and to the lower-level engineering discussions…as well as having other companies there that could speak to specific capabilities or specialized cases.” 

Duane Ray – Van Zandt, Emerich, & Cary… “The VoIP seminar helped us determine the parameters of our VoIP project.  It was great to get feedback from some of the Unified’s other customers who had already gone through the decision-making process and implementation of a new VoIP platform in their own businesses.”

Unified Technologies’ VoIP Seminar Details…

WHO: Anyone interested in VoIP technology

WHAT: Overview, demo, and panel discussion on VoIP technologies…free lunch as well!

WHEN: Louisville, KY – Tuesday, April 12th from 11:00am – 1:30pm.  Lexington, KY – Wednesday, April 13th from 11:00am – 1:30pm

WHERE: Louisville, KY – Sam Swope Scout Center at 12001 Sycamore Station Place   Louisville, KY.  Lexington, KY – Campbell House at 1375 Broadway  Lexington, KY

Register for UT VoIP Lunch Seminar (Louisville, KY) in Louisville, KY  on Eventbrite Register for UT VoIP Lunch Seminar (Lexington, KY) in Lexington, KY  on Eventbrite

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at 502.459.9141.