blog We couldn’t help but goggle when we received a media release yesterday from enterprise telephony vendor ShoreTel pushing what the company dubs “the first enterprise-grade docking station for Apple iPad and iPhone”. The devices — to be available in Australia in the third quarter of this year — allow users to integrate their iPhones and iPads with ShoreTel’s corporate telephone platform. In the words of the company itself:
“The ShoreTel Dock transforms Apple® handhelds that are running the ShoreTel Mobility app, into powerful business desk phones and enterprise collaboration tools. Employees can simply slide their ShoreTel Mobility enabled iPhone or iPad into the ShoreTel Dock and get instant access to the comfort, battery life and call quality of a business desk phone. The ShoreTel Dock only requires a single power adaptor and automatically keeps Apple handheld devices charged so employees have a full battery. When combined with ShoreTel Mobility and conferencing applications, users get a phenomenal UC experience, utilising voice, instant messaging (IM), presence and conferencing on a device that they already know and love.
The ShoreTel Dock hardware and ShoreTel Mobility software work together, making life easier for the user. Users can place and answer calls by simply picking up the handset and dialing a number on the dial pad or on the device’s screen; the ShoreTel Dock automatically launches the ShoreTel Mobility application so the user doesn’t have to think to do so. The simple and clean design of the handset, dial pad, speaker phone and audio controls allow users to enjoy the familiar comfort of a desk phone when using their iPad or iPhone at their desks, making BYOD an even better experience.”
We can sort of understand the iPhone dock, as it is indeed useful for those working in large organisations to be able to integrate their iPhone with their corporate phone. We know of many people who merely have their work number forwarded to their mobile, but this obviously doesn’t bring the full benefits of integration with the corporate directory, the ability to place internal calls over Wi-Fi and so on. A dock integrating the iPhone with a corporate telephone makes a degree of sense in this context, and we can see people actually using ShoreTel’s device in this capacity, although it does look a little odd.
However, the iPad dock is another scenario entirely. To be honest, ShoreTel’s solution looks very unwieldy here — it looks as though the iPad’s hardware connector could be broken relatively easily merely by nudging it with your elbow; the whole setup looks unbalanced, with the iPad itself larger than ShoreTel’s dock. Perhaps an iPad mini would be better. In addition, we’d question the benefit of corporate telephony integration here … even if you accept that users are conducting tasks such as videoconferencing from their desks, wouldn’t they do this on their PC or laptop as a preference, or even from the iPad itself through ShoreTel’s app? We’re not sure there’s really a need or a desire to connect such a large tablet to a corporate dock.
Anyway, let us know your thoughts below — we’re extremely curious to know whether this is the sort of thing people would deploy in their offices.
Image credit: ShoreTel