Last week, I upgraded the phone system in the office to Shoretel 10.1. This may not seem like that admirable of a feat, but it has been a long time coming as we’ve been using Shoretel 6.1 for the last several years. Outside of one small version increase to resolve a couple bugs, it’s been the same software on the same server for well over 4 years. Not that I haven’t been trying to upgrade regularly, because I have. I consider it a testament to how great Shoretel has been to us – it just works and works well. It was hard to justify playing with something that did its job everyday.
And that’s what happened. Every year that passed was another year that the to-do list item of “Upgrade Shoretel” was passed over for more pressing projects. But finally, the looming date of Windows 2000 “end-of-life” was hanging out there. Combine that with ribbing I would get from my VAR whenever I called and had to admit I was still several versions behind and I finally stopping putting off the upgrade.
I have to admit, I didn’t do THAT much of the work. Our VAR handled the majority of the driving for the main upgrade, which had several moving parts though was pretty straight forward. We replaced our conference bridge hardware as well, so I copied the appropriate settings from our existing bridge and had that ready to go once the phone system was completed.
We copied the existing 6.1 database to the new server, which left the original server untouched in case we had to rollback. Then on the new server, we watched the default installations of versions 7.5, 8.1 and then finally 10.1 get layered on top. Once the server software was where we needed it to be, we updated the firmware on the switches and the IP phones.
So what are some of the new things in Shoretel 10.1?
1) The Desktop Call Manager works on Windows 7 – The release notes won’t admit to this and only lists support through 64-bit Vista, but Windows 7 works no problem. The server software is supported on 2003 SP2, 2003 R2 and 2008 SP2. (No 2008 R2 support at this time.)
2) Malicious Call Tracing – Provides organizations with the ability to report a malicious call and record the source of the incoming call, assuming the service provider of your external connections support MCID. This isn’t something our office would seem to need at this time, but it could be important in other lines of work.
3) Mobile Call Manager – Additional support for devices, including the BlackBerry Curve 89xx and the Tour 96xx. This is something I’d like to look into configuring for our BlackBerry devices, so I’ll have to research more about how to go about implementing this feature.
Also, we upgraded to the latest version of Converged Conferencing, so I’m hoping the integrated instant message features and the more robust conferencing features will be something users will take advantage of. The Call Manager will also allow users to personalize call handling for specific callers, if you are using the “professional” or higher version of the desktop software.
So, yes, looks like there is some benefits to staying up to date. Glad I’ve finally caught up!