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More on the ShoreTel, Agito Deal

October 22, 2010 12:21 PM | 0 Comments

A girl can't even take some time off these days without missing news of an acquisition. While I was enjoying some R&R yesterday in the dentist's chair, ShoreTel revealed its plans to buy Agito.


For $11.4 million ShoreTel gets an enterprise mobility platform that will enable users to communicate on any device at any location and using any network.


Bringing mobility into the fold is important for companies like ShoreTel given smartphones, laptops and, increasingly, tablets are becoming the key tools employed by business users. With the Agito acquisition in its pocket, ShoreTel will be able to provide PBX functionality on a variety of popular wireless endpoints including the BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, and Nokia and Windows Mobile smartphones.


As discussed in the October issue of Unified Communications Magazine, which should post on TMCnet by the end of this month, Synergy Research's latest data reported in the quarter shows ShoreTel grew market share once again in the June quarter to 8.2 percent in the U.S. pure IP market and 5.6 percent of the U.S. IP telephony market. ShoreTel sold approximately 96,000 end user licenses in the quarter, with more than 800 new customers added in that period.


The company is making gains both in the U.S. and abroad by going up market, and winning more and larger contracts.


ShoreTel started out selling to small businesses, but now also has medium and large enterprise users. The target is opportunities involving between 20 and 10,000 users. It recently sold it first contact center in EMEA in excess of 1,000 lines.


International now represents 10 percent of ShoreTel's business, and that's growing. The company has seen the best success in Australia and Europe. As part of its most recently reported quarterly financials ShoreTel revealed it had record high international revenues of $5 million - about 12 percent of four quarter total revenues. That represents a 130 percent year-over-year increase.


ShoreTel wins and retains customers by delivering what Gavin says are simple and straightforward solutions to their unified communications problems.


"The whole notion of brilliant simplicity is what we focus on," he says.

Being Fair to Flare

September 17, 2010 4:35 PM | 0 Comments

The blog I posted earlier today (around 5 a.m. my time, I believe) talked about the new Avaya Flare interface as well as the Avaya tablet on which it runs.


I mentioned in the blog that an anonymous reader had e-mailed me some comments about the product and indicated that when you figure in $2,000 for tablet and $1,750 for the Flare application, the total solution cost $3,750. However, as I also noted, TMC's Rich Tehrani today reported the tablet's street price is $1,500 to $2,000.


This post you're reading is just to set the record straight, in case anybody is confused about the pricing. Deborah Kline, Avaya's senior manager of public relations, this afternoon confirmed to me that the street price will be around $2,000 for both the Avaya Flare Experience and Desktop Video Device.


"Until we make the software available as a standalone product, there is no individual, software vs hardware pricing," Kline e-mailed me. "So you are correct in citing what Rich said - $2000 street for both."


Get it? Got it? Good.

I reported yesterday about the new Avaya tablet solution for business. Since my story hit the TMCnet website - alongside on-the-scene coverage from TMC's Rich Tehrani, who attended the product's official unveiling (I must say, I find it amazing how he is everywhere at once when it comes to being where communications news is being made) - a reader comment and a marketing-related thought of my own have come to light. So I'd like to share.


My posting "Avaya Aims to Bring Workplace Video to The Tipping Point" from yesterday starts out by mentioning a comment that Lawrence Byrd, director of unified communications architecture at Avaya, made to me about how leveraging video for work applications is far from widespread because the barriers of entry for making video work easily as needed - and where desired - are still a bit high for many organizations and employees to overcome. The article then goes on to say how Avaya has launched various products, including the 1000 series of video devices, and a tablet with Avaya's new Flare interface (although at the time that I talked to Avaya about it they didn't mention the Flare branding), aimed at end user ease of use.


Yesterday I received an e-mail from a reader who declined to provide his/her contact information. In the communications this individual says that the 1000 series devices are rebranded LifeSize equipment and that "while the tablet supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, it does not support cellular networks. That will come from adding a dongle (a bit of an anachronism) to one of the USB ports. Not very elegant."


The reader goes on to say that while Avaya talks about how video adoption has suffered from high costs and complexity, he questions whether "a $3,750 device and software application ($2,000 for tablet and $1,750 for Flare application) breaks the cost barrier," particularly if it's not replacing a PC.


I should mention that in my conversation last week with Byrd he said over time Avaya expects third-party devices to emerge to support the experience now delivered by the tablet, and that he added that 4G cellular networks will increase bandwidth to better support rich media applications like mobile video.


Also, while Byrd would not disclose to me the price of the Avaya tablet, he said it will cost more than a tablet and less than a typical personal video desktop product. However, Rich Tehrani's more recent reporting on the Avaya A175 tablet (with two speakers, two microphones and a video camera) notes that its street price is $1,500 to $2,000.


Just one last note on the Avaya solution - particularly, relating to the name. Given Apple's iPad - whose name was greeted with groans by some media and customers - went on to huge success, it's obvious to ask the question: What's in a name? On the other hand, I'm not sure Avaya is doing itself any favors by calling its new tablet interface Flare.


For me, anyway, the word Flare brings to mind three things:


One is a flame. And that makes me, as journalist, think about how editors (at other media outlets, of course) term some products flameouts. Let's give this new tablet and interface a chance before assigning it this connotation.


Two is a car accident. You know, how the police use road flares so other motorists are alerted that they need to drive around the obstruction?


And three is the movie Office Space. This cult classic, about a bunch of office drones, has the main character dating a waitress played by Jennifer Aniston. She works at a restaurant that's strangely similar to TGI Friday's. And the main concern of her manager seems to be the fact that she doesn't wear enough silly buttons and other decorations on her uniform - what the restaurant refers to as flare.


Not good. But then again, the images brought to mind for some with the name iPad weren't the greatest either and look what happened with that.




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