American productivity went down in the first quarter of 2014, and economists cited the unseasonably cold winter as well as businesses’ lack of capital investment for the stagnation. Wintry weather aside, market watchers are starting to see capital investments thaw as the prospects of stronger business growth ahead. A growing number of organizations are turning to unified communications (UC) and collaboration tools to turn up the heat on productivity.

In fact, according to the 2014 Information Week State of Unified Communications, 44% of organizations it surveyed were already using UC systems and an additional 13% planned to be up and running with UC within 12 months. And, 62% of companies cited improved employee collaboration as the top business driver for UC.

UC and collaboration tools enable people to work together efficiently and effectively, and that drives productivity. Mobile devices have given people the power to work from anywhere, and these days, most people work outside of a company’s head office, whether in a branch location, in the field or from home. Whether your workers are old enough to remember the days when team meetings in the conference room were the norm—or they’re just entering the workforce and take mobile and collaboration tools for granted — they need ways to work together simply and easily. Either way, they’ll benefit from having instant messaging, audio conferencing, desktop sharing and other collaboration tools at their fingertips.

ShoreTel offers a full complement of collaboration tools for organizations that deploy UC on-premises or in the cloud as well as for mobile workers. ShoreTel Collaboration is a simple add-on to ShoreTel’s on-premises business phone system. With ShoreTel Collaboration, teams can engage and share documents and spreadsheets with a single click, using the devices of their choice, whether they’re PCs, Macs or Apple iOS devices. ShoreTel Collaboration is simple to use. Setting up meetings and web conferences is hassle-free and lets people focus on creative sharing, not tinkering with technology.

With ShoreTel Communicator, users of ShoreTel’s on-premises phone systems have easy access to full conferencing and collaboration services. Desktop sharing is available in one click. Tight integration with Microsoft Outlook makes scheduling conferences easy, and meeting participants can view the shared desktop over the web without having to download additional applications or installing pesky plug-ins. For organizations that prefer cloud deployments, ShoreTel Sky Communicator makes collaboration easy, with enterprise instant messaging, voice chat and video chat, screen sharing and file transfer.

For workers on the go, ShoreTel Mobility integrates with Apple iOS and Google calendar applications. Users simply download the ShoreTel Conferencing for iOS app from the Apple App Store. Tablet users can follow presentations and view spreadsheets and other documents on the shared desktop.

ShoreTel Dock, when paired with the ShoreTel Mobility client, makes it even easier to collaborate. The ShoreTel Dock merges the benefits of a deskphone (audio quality, always-on power and ergonomic comfort) with the unified communications power of ShoreTel Mobility. Just pop an iPhone, iPad or iPad mini into the ShoreTel Dock, and workers can easily participate in a web conference, as well as instant messaging, web conferencing, directories, buddy presence and more.

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