James Thew - Fotolia

ShoreTel offers customers plug-in for Skype for Business

ShoreTel has announced a plug-in for Skype for Business that is targeted at customers who use the video conferencing software without the premium telephony services.

ShoreTel has introduced a plug-in that adds call routing, contacts and other telephony features to Skype for Business, which many customers use separately for instant messaging and Web conferencing.

Telecommunications provider ShoreTel announced the plug-in last week in an effort to please Skype for Business users. The plug-in is available to customers of ShoreTel's on-premises UC system, called Connect ONSITE, and its hosted UC as a service product, called Connect CLOUD. The plug-in comes with both Connect services for no additional charge.

The plug-in for Skype for Business targets ShoreTel Connect customers who subscribe to the version of Office 365 that includes the video conferencing client without telephony capabilities, according to Ed Wright, a senior director of product management at ShoreTel, based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Even without telephony services, Office 365 customers often use Skype for Business for its collaboration functions, including document sharing and team chat.

A plug-in for Skype for Business is not novel. Several vendors, including Cisco and Avaya, have provided Skype plug-ins to their customers, demonstrating the popularity of Skype for Business in the enterprise world, according to Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

"Skype for Business dominates the enterprise instant messaging market," Lazar said. "This is just ShoreTel playing a bit of catch up, and hopefully preventing their customers who are already using Skype for Business for IM, chat [and] Web conferencing from migrating to it for telephony."

With the plug-in for Skype for Business, companies can use Microsoft's software to get access to their ShoreTel contacts and voicemail, execute conference calls, transfer calls, and control preferences, such as call routing.

Next Steps

Skype for Business versus consumer Skype

Cisco, Microsoft say they want video interoperability

Office 365 heats up SMB market

Dig Deeper on Business Video Conferencing and Telepresence Technology