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Interest in Avaya DevConnect is increasing, but how will Avaya put more resources in the hands of partners who want to own more of the development for customers? I mean not just ISVs, but VARs looking to add app dev revenue.
Our strategy is really ACE [the Avaya Agile Communication Environment, used for embedding communications into business applications]. ACE is all about a set of web services and APIs on top of Avaya infrastructure, so that anybody can easily build applications that leverage those underlying Avaya services. We're going to continue to build out the ACE platform to get to the point where we have a complete and clean set of interface services. That will become the vehicle our partners can use or third-party application developers can use to build communications-enabled applications.
The initial proof point for ACE is what we've done with Microsoft interoperability. We've used ACE as the vehicle to allow Microsoft clients and Microsoft business applications to sit on top of our communications infrastructure. Microsoft [platforms] can be served by Avaya Aura rather than OCS. Lync Client can be served by Avaya rather than by Lync. Sharepoint, Exchange and Outlook can all be served by Avaya Aura.
What's the penetration of ACE into the channel right now?
It's very new. ACE was an experimental piece of technology when we acquired Nortel. Within the last couple of months we've brought it to market, so we're just getting started. But there is a lot of interest.
Turning to Flare, I've had partners tell me there's definitely an interest on the part of customers in Flare, the collaboration platform, but less so on the video tablet…
…the ADVD (Avaya Desktop Video Device), yes.
Are you seeing adoption of the device?
We are. So the first thing to keep in mind is rather than ADVD running Flare or a PC running Flare or an iPad running Flare, you need Avaya Aura 6.x to run Flare. Until the middle of last year, the number of Avaya Aura 6.x lines was very small, and 6.x didn't even go into the market until the beginning of our last fiscal year. But the last two quarters we went from basically zero and then small thousands of 6.x lines to three million, and we're on a very steep ramp right now. So we're creating the foundation, the platform that allows us to access Flare, whether it's software on an iPad or on the ADVD.
I'll be honest with you: the cost of deploying software is a lot lower than the cost of deploying ADVD. You don't get the same capabilities, though; ADVD is a more complete solution, with full calendar integration, web browsing, video. But the software is providing us the ability to get business users in an enterprise excited and pulling their IT departments in an Avaya direction. Up until now, we basically sold to IT and to senior executives. Now, we have a chance to get end users excited and be internal advocates for what we're doing. All it takes is to download Flare onto your iPad, and if you've got Avaya 6.x, you're running.
But it's inaccurate to say that you are de-emphasizing ADVD in favor of Flare on iPad?
It is inaccurate to say we are de-emphasizing ADVD, yes. In fact, we've got a new release of ADVD -- the software, not the hardware -- coming out the end of the month.
And the beta of the iPad application will be free?
The beta will be free. Downloading Flare to the iPad will always be free, but it will acquire an Avaya Aura license to connect it, just like it requires an Avaya Aura license to connect one of our IP phones. But for the beta, you won't have to pay the license. Going forward, post-beta, there will also be a free trial period.