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ShoreTel Acquires Agito For Smartphone Integration

The $11.4 million acquisition will give ShoreTel the ability to include smartphones in its enterprise PBX solutions.

Shoretel on Thursday announced that it has acquired Agito Networks for the sum of $11.4 million. The all-cash deal gives ShoreTel all of Agito’s intellectual property, customer base, distribution network and select employees.

ShoreTel, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., offers business customers an all IP-based Unified Communications phone platform. It includes voice, video, and data as part of its platform. Agito's chief product is its RoamAnywhere Mobility Router, which integrates IP-based Unified Communications with wireless networks (both cellular and Wi-Fi).

With the acquisition, ShoreTel will be able to include wireless devices in its IP PBX architecture. The end result will be the ability to treat employee smartphones as a standard PBX extension. In addition to PBX functionality, ShoreTel will be able to push Unified Communications capabilities to smartphones, such as presence and location. It can seamlessly hand off calls between cellular and Wi-Fi networks, making life easier on employees, while still giving IT control via the ShoreTel dashboard.

Additionally, Agito's RoamAnywhere Mobility Router is platform agnostic. It supports many of today's key smartphone operating systems, including BlackBerry OS, iOS, Symbian and Windows Mobile (no word yet on Windows Phone 7). This will give employers a lot of flexibility, as employees are more often picking their own smartphones and not necessarily taking what's handed to them by IT.

According to ShoreTel, this improved offering will help businesses reduce their telephony costs, improve productivity, and still allow employees to choose what works best for them.

Real-world translation? Businesses can hold onto their PBX systems and more easily tie in remote or traveling workers. With a growing percentage of the work force completing tasks from home or on the road, making sure they are reachable by colleagues, or, more importantly, customers, is key. Customers or partners will be able to dial into an enterprise's PBX system and still reach remote employees without having to hang up and redial a cell or home office number.

The additional bonus of presence and location features will further help facilitate useful communication. It's not uncommon for employees to be spread around the globe and across multiple time zones. Location and presence will make sure enterprise employees are calling the right person at the right time.

Frost & Sullivan's Rob Arnold, Senior Industry Analyst, Unified Communications and Collaboration, said, "Agito Networks enterprise mobility applications align nicely with ShoreTel’s mission to offer communications solutions with sophisticated functionality yet that are easy to implement, administer and use, resulting in lower communication costs for customers."

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