ShoreTel/Smart IP UC demo, Toronto

It's been a busy week, and am catching up on postings today. On Tuesday, I attended an event here in Toronto sponsored by Smart IP, one of Canada's leading systems integrators. They have a pretty strong focus on UC, and brought out a room full of customers and prospects to get an update from ShoreTel about their UC capabilities.

Many in attendance were telephony-only ShoreTel customers, and it was interesting to see how the value proposition is presented for them to move up to UC. ShoreTel's Dan Brown did most of the talking, and his presentation emphasized the familiar simplicity theme that runs through most of their messaging. I thought Dan did a great job breaking down the core elements of UC and reviewing the trends that are leading businesses to get beyond IP telephony. A key message was how well ShoreTel works across multiple vendors, and that resonates well with Avaya/Nortel customers who are looking for simpler, less costly options.

Dan's storyline was brought to life by a customer case study presented by Claude Vezina of BDO, a national accounting firm. Claude cited many exmaples of how "ridiculously simple" ShoreTel was to deploy, and he spoke well of the system's reliability in the 5 years they've had it, as well as the consultative nature of ShoreTel's support process. The strongest message for me from Claude was his assertion that "IP telephony is an application - accept it". I liked his tone about that, and it served as a wakeup call for customers with a telecom-centric mindset that UC is much more than VoIP.

Overall, the event was nicely done. To get people in a transformational mindset, things got started with an inspirational talk from Mike "Pinball" Clemons, a CFL/Argo legend - arguably the most famous athlete in Toronto. He's good - very good, and had the audience in the palm of his hand from the get-go. After the sessions, we enjoyed the Blue Jays/Rays game at the Rogers Center - no complaints.

Pinball Clemons getting the audience in the right frame of mind for UC - sweet!

Dan Brown talking about ShoreTel's UC capabilities

Jays/Rays game. Sorry folks, but are we in Toronto or Tampa Bay? Pretty hard to tell from the crowd, huh?