In 1996, the first version of Java was released onto the tech scene. Bell Labs published the quantum database search algorithm and Microsoft launched the Web browser Internet Explorer 3.

On Sept. 17, 1996, Shoreline Teleworks (which officially became ShoreTel in 2004) received its incorporation papers.

Ed Basart walked into the office one day to find his analog Centrex office phone was a giant box with a blank screen. After more than 15 years working with computer architecture and distributed computing, Ed just wanted a simple setup – one that a mere mortal unarmed of codes and passwords could operate.

Founder Ed Basart created the fledgling company from a clean sheet of paper - building a computer that was inside a phone, and asking, “What if voice was just another application?”

In 1998, Shasta Networks was the first customer installation. Supporting 144 users, Shoreline Teleworks Version 1 had a distributed architecture, desktop applications and Web management. The company was designated “Hot Startup of 1998.”

Even as the company grew, Shoreline install technicians were provided with only a single Philips screwdriver for their toolkit. This was and still is the only tool needed to install a ShoreTel IPBX phone system.

By 2001, Shoreline 3 supported 5,000 users and included Personal Call Manager, presence, distributed voicemail, workgroup queues and an international dialing plan. With the announcement of a new standards-based IP phone system that provided an end-to-end IP PBX system in 2002, a Tolly group study compared Shoreline Communications to Cisco and declared Shoreline as “Less Complex, More Cost-Effective.”

Converged conferencing was added to the portfolio in 2003. Shoreline was the first to integrate converged conferencing into an IP phone system. By making converged voice-and-data conferencing an integrated feature of the IP PBX, our conference solution improved productivity of both scheduled and ad hoc collaboration while dramatically reducing conferencing costs – values ShoreTel still embraces.

In 2004, with features including multiple line appearances, intercom, SoftPhone, Find Me, Web Client, Multiplicity, Monitor, Barge, and Terminal Services, the ShoreTel IP PBX prepared to be heard in space; it was used by NASA in their simulated Mars mission.

By its 10th birthday in 1996, ShoreTel was recognized as one of the fastest growing IP PBX companies worldwide by Deloitte & Touche, Infonetics and Synergy research. And on July 3, 2007, ShoreTel, Inc. was listed publicly as SHOR on the NASDAQ.

As the new decade approached, mobile workers began redefining themselves as hyper-connected personnel who relied on mobile devices for greater productivity. In October 2010, ShoreTel acquired Agito Networks to expand ShoreTel’s vision of setting the user free to communicate on any device.

ShoreTel’s all-in-one UC solution was built from the ground up for IP, and for IP alone. This is what makes it fundamentally different and better suited to the realities of business than other systems on the market. The open system, based on the unique distributed architecture, integrates seamlessly with existing business applications and processes.

ShoreTel offer the lowest total cost of ownership and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry, in part, because it is easy to deploy, manage, scale and use.

Ingenuity is unmatched – with a simplicity and power that work together to remove the high cost and complexity typical of IP-enabled legacy, or bolted-together systems, that many organizations suffer with today. Today, organizations of all sizes can get the most out of first-rate integrated voice, video, data and a powerful, open mobility solution that removes barriers on all fronts.

The original vision of Shoreline Teleworks is the core differentiator of ShoreTel today. The founders designed complexity out from the start.

Happy 15th birthday, ShoreTel. Brilliantly simply from the very beginning.

Digital transformation has become a top initiative for business and IT leaders. In today’s business world, sustainable market leadership is no longer based solely on which company has the best products or even the best people. Instead, organizations that are agile and can quickly adapt to rapidly evolving market trends will become market leaders.

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