Ask the Experts: How Has Messaging Evolved with UCaaS?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle discusses the different types of messaging built into the UCaaS suite of features with Richard Winslow of Mitel (formerly ShoreTel). Learn more about unified communications from the Mitel team here:

Andrew: Time for another Ask the Experts session. I’m sitting here with Richard Winslow, Senior Director of Product Management at ShoreTel. Richard, welcome back to the studio my friend.
Richard: Thank you, Andrew.
Andrew: All right. Good to have you. We’ve been talking a lot about UCaaS. We’ve been talking about messaging and all the different types of messaging that’s built into the UCaaS suite of features. I wanted to get your take on that. Messaging has really evolved. In the early, early days of hosted VoIP, messaging for us was simply voicemail. Talk to us about how messaging has evolved. How is ShoreTel keeping pace with all the different ways that users now communicate? What are your thoughts on that?
Richard: Andrew, certainly there’s a classic messaging. In this day and age, there’s more and more ways for people to get a hold of you and more and more messages coming at you. Classic voicemail . . . A great feature is voicemail transcription. You’re sitting in a meeting, you get a voicemail, a very important one, and you can’t deal with it. With voicemail transcription of that message, now you can decide during the meeting whether or not you need to act on it. A nice little improvement there.
Unified messaging . . . And it’s also going in new ways. Instant messaging, federation of instant messaging. Also bringing text chat, web chat into contact centers. The unified aspect of this is trying to make sense out of all these different ways of messaging. That’s the nice part about UCaaS–trying to present those altogether in a unified way.
Andrew: Richard, lots of different instant messaging clients out there. You mentioned briefly this idea of federation. Do you see ShoreTel ultimately moving in that direction and being able to federate between different IM clients?
Richard: Definitely. In fact, there’s a commoditization of IM clients themselves, being able to get your instant message on your mobile phone, on your desk computer, on your desk phone someday, and doing it in a cohesive way. Also being able to interact with people outside your organization, both personally as well as professionally. All tied together.
Andrew: Got it. This whole unified messaging piece of it–talk about the role that presence plays in that. In instant messaging, if I’m using your client where I can see who’s on the phone, who’s not on the phone, that could be a tremendous productivity gainer, can’t it?
Richard: It can be. Where I especially find is that is in multi-site organizations. If I’m sitting next to you, I probably know what your presence is. If I’m working from home for the morning or you’re across the country and I can see that you’re out of that meeting and available, it does make you more productive. We call our feature Alert When Available. When you hang up your phone, it notifies me and I contact you. A nice productivity tool is, again, is all about more, better communication.
Andrew: How does that work? I’m on an IM client. I see that you’re on the phone via presence. I can somehow trigger you to notify me proactively when you get off that call.
Richard: That’s right. Then me, as the user, I’m not taking up cycles watching your presence. I’m free to go about my work. At the same time, the moment you hang up I’m on you.
Andrew: Very cool. That’s just a sampling, guys, of the amazing stuff that you can do in unified communications. In the as a service service model, that’s a fantastic thing. Lots of promise there. Richard, thanks for jumping in. Really good stuff.
Richard: Thanks, Andrew. Talk to you soon.
Andrew: You bet. Guys, that’s Richard Winslow. He’s a Senior Director of Product Management for ShoreTel, hailing out of Sunnyvale, California, in the Silicon Valley. Great to have him in here as part of our faculty of the University. Do make sure you go deep at the learning center for ShoreTel. There’s tons of information there about how ShoreTel and their ShoreTel Sky Division does business, the tools that they’ve developed, the video case studies, the stories they’re telling that can help you be more effective selling ShoreTel UCaaS services. Good selling.