Usually when your cell phone rings at a conference, people are wondering why you didn’t turn off the ringer. But that was not the case at the Society of Telecommunications Consultants annual conference this week in Orlando. In a room full of 50 of the most focused consultants on IP telephony and Unified Communications, they were surprised my iPhone worked at all.
Why you ask?
The Omni Hotel in Orlando is a beautiful hotel, but the meeting rooms in the lower LL level result in all attendees having zero bars on their AT&T and Verizon phones. (It’s a great place to test out how nice the “No Service” indicator is on your phone.) But since there is Wi-Fi, my ShoreTel Mobility works like a charm.
So as embarrassing as it sounds, when my phone rang during one of the sessions, the reaction from half the room was, “How did you get your phone to ring?” I held up my iPhone, and told the entire audience about how I stay connected. I quickly said I would show it to people later, and had a lot of fun with it during the breaks dialing into our conference bridge to show how clear the sound was.
The first afternoon was focused on understanding the increasing need for consultants to help companies formulate Bring Your Own Device strategies. It was quite enjoyable to hear the speakers highlight how ShoreTel’s acquisition of Agito Networks last year is showing how important the subject is, and clearly how it changes the way people can communicate.
I find it is actually terrific that all IP PBX vendors have some sort of mobility solution. It’s helping businesses become aware of the concept of using your smart phone as your primary device over the corporate WIFI network. But no one has the same approach as ShoreTel with a PBX agnostic solution that works with any PBX, with so many different smartphones, and without requiring complicated VPN logons or manuals for learning a different user interface.
It’s my belief that this technology becomes mainstream when it disappears. When it becomes as common to use the application that is as natural as using the phones and user interfaces you already know, that is the spark that makes it a reality. Let the complexity behind the scenes disappear and make it just work for the users. That’s the inflection point this industry has needed in contrast to the simple VoIP clients that could be put on a phone but was not be the answer people want.
So as I type this on my American Airlines flight connected with my ShoreTel Communicator desktop client which also has VoIP capabilities at 20,000 feet, I guess I’m reminded that it’s not as easy as it used to be to be disconnected from the world, even when there is no cell coverage. It’s certainly not with our solutions. But it will be after I press the send button on this email and press the power button and get some sleep. That’s about the only way I can’t be reached these days!
Happy Halloween everyone! A great costume for Monday would be dressing up as Vasili Triant’s (ShoreTel Vice President of Sales, Global Mobility) former cell phone bill before he cut it by 90% by leveraging ShoreTel Mobility, and avoiding the international roaming charges in Australia. Those bills were definitely scary!