It’s easy to be amazed as you step into the Williams F1 Conference Centre in Oxfordshire, U.K. Located at the home of the Williams FI racing team and builder, the award-winning conference centre houses the largest private collection of Formula One racing cars in the world.
Walking into the plush lobby, you are immediately greeted by the most recent racing chassis available to present – in this case the 2011 model. Go further and you enter a corridor, lined with signed pictures of F1 racing greats such as Damon Hill and Alain Prost. At the end you come to the Aryton Senna Hall – where today’s ShoreTel launch took place.
As I said, it is easy to be overawed – not just by the grandiosity of the building, but by the rich tapestry of racing history woven throughout the centre. Today’s speakers – myself and Chris Taylor, head of IT at Williams F1 – were careful to pay tribute to this history, before focusing attention on the real purpose of this event: the future of these two companies.
The event got started with a conference call with Claire Williams, deputy team principle at Williams F1, highlighting how the use of ShoreTel’s system can improve that most important part of any business – communication. The conference call was surprisingly clear, given that it took place at Silverstone. We didn’t encounter the screeching of wheels or the more familiar sounds of the British weather battering the receiver. Instead, we heard about how ShoreTel can help Williams F1 move up the grid, and how Williams will prove to be a valuable partner of ShoreTel.
After a brief introduction from me, Chris Taylor took to the stage. He outlined the need for a secure, easy-to-use communication system that can be utilised by members of the team as 50 to 60 employees travel every two weeks around the globe. He was also quick to remind us that, unlike most companies, the competitors of Williams F1 are often in a paddock next to them at Formula 1 events. Never has the need for security been more pronounced.
I then addressed each of the issues raised by Chris and how we can offer a practical solution. ShoreTel Mobility’s ability to connect everyone, no-matter their smartphone/tablet/desktop preference, helps Williams F1 make quick, efficient contact when it is needed most. If, for example, an F1 team needs to connect quickly with the factory team to resolve an issue, ShoreTel’s solution can allow this. In practical terms, the ability to quickly contact a factory team member using instant messenger would be invaluable, when the noise from the track is overwhelming and making a call impossible. Flexibility and adaptability are vital parts of how the team works. ShoreTel can offer this in abundance.
What is also clear is the matching values of the organisations. For both ShoreTel and Williams F1, innovation and the desire to compete and win in their respective industries are of the utmost importance. ShoreTel’s solutions also bare comparison to the cars of Williams F1 – safe enough to trust and innovative enough to excite.
While it would be simple to outline every advantage and aspect of this technical partnership, I would be in danger of missing out on the joy of such an event. ShoreTel will benefit from the global reach of this highly-respected brand, and Williams F1 will receive a glut of benefits from ShoreTel solutions. One of the more enjoyable sights at the event, however, was that of a room full of immaculately turned out professionals, reduced to gibbering balls of teenage enthusiasm over the sight of fast cars, and the history of an incredible organisation.
Long may it continue, with ShoreTel on board.