A ShoreTel Communicator for the Mac?
We recently had an opportunity to work with a ShoreTel client that was exclusively using Apple Mac’s throughout their enterprise. We asked how they made that decision given the clear cost advantage WinTel PC hardware had over your basic Macbook. The answer was simple and clearly economic. They had used Windows in the past, but found that they had to many problems with virus, email, drivers and the annual cost of license renewals! Yes the Mac’s cost more but they just seem to work and they don’t have to worry license issues. Interesting.
This was a ShoreTel deployment so that made for some interesting trade offs when it got down to the desktop software. The ShoreTel Communicator is optimized for the Windows based machines. There are several license types for Personal, Professional, Workgroup Agent, Workgroup Supervisor and Operator Communicators. With the Mac, there is only one Communicator and it has the functionality of the ShoreTel Web Communicator which is basically a Personal Communicator.
It does however get the job done as far as call handling modes, inbound primary phone options, multiple call management and visual voice mail. You can setup your call handling modes including your personal operator and find me functions for each mode. You can configure and select 5 alternative phones and setup your incoming call routing to include simultaneous ringing of other phones. The visual voice mail tab works just like you would expect and you can also select a history and call details tab.
The noticeable difference is the absence of IM options. ShoreTel had been suggesting the use of iChat for that function as that client was supported on the ShoreTel SA-100/400 conference servers. In the Communicator there is always more than one way to do something: point and click, right click, use some chord sequence on the keyboard that includes the control key. Right clicking on a Mac Communicator however is not going to work! There is however, drop down menu options that appear as required to assist your call management. All in all, the Mac client is an excellent solution if you have a Mac and a ShoreTel. You can download the MAC dmg installation file from the ShoreTel HQ server and you are good to go!