Mitel is one of those old dogs in the telephony world that has never had a problem learning new tricks. The corporate communications world once ran on barge-sized PBX systems, but now IP-based unified communications systems are the impressive norm. And though Mitel came from the old world, it continues to keep its offerings fresh with the latest version of Mitel Unified Communicator Advanced.
As BYOD, or "bring your own device," gains buzz in pretty much every market and demographic, IP PBX vendors have little choice but to respond to stay competitive. While business telephones and PC-based softphone clients are far from dead, many of us prefer to use our own mobile devices as our primary business extension, especially when on the road. This is not just a game of "I demand to use my cool device for everything because it’s my cool device," but a powerful paradigm that puts full office functionality in the hands of users around the clock and everywhere they roam, to the benefit of both employee and employer.
In Mitel’s case, the well-entrenched Communications Director has evolved into an impressive multifunction mother ship. Think typical IP PBX here, with traditional extensions and softphones in an architecture that scales from a dozen users to tens of thousands. Now toss in unified communications under the Mitel UC Advanced badge, with full integration with the corporate directory and a launch-off interface for voice, video, messaging, presence and conference capabilities. Finally, let your mind wander to the smartphone in your pocket or purse.
Already supporting Android and RIM devices with what Mitel calls its Freedom Architecture, the communications giant continues to expand the powerful philosophy of multidevice support on the corporate PBX as it welcomes iPhones and iPads into the fold via Mitel UC Advanced Mobile. Mitel’s take on this niche is elegantly practical: People are going to use their own mobile devices regardless of whether the devices are the best fit for corporate communications. It's better to make them full-fledged clients in the Communications Director framework, rather than leaving them as oddball personal devices that just happen to be on the hips of all of your employees.
Some cool things happen when Unified Messaging makes friends with devices like the iPhone. For example, automatic updates to your presence status and call routing preferences are possible based on not only typical factors like time of day but also on GPS or Wi-Fi network location. Users now take full-blown office communications capabilities with them on all leading consumer mobile devices, and the implication here is that corporate functionality is extended without expenditures on new corporate devices. With Mitel’s UC Advanced Mobile, there’s an app for that.
At the time of publication, Mitel is not a client of and has no business relationship with Lee Badman.