Avaya Extends Flare Collaboration To iPad, More Platforms Coming

Avaya on Tuesday confirmed availability of its Avaya Flare Communicator for iPad, an application that extends a user's unified communications (UC) and collaboration functions out to Apple's iPad tablet in much the same way Avaya provides that function for a host of smartphones.

It's part of Avaya's expanding mobility strategy, and executives said Avaya plans to further broaden the Avaya Flare Experience -- the collaboration and communications platform powered by Avaya's virtualized UC architecture Aura -- to include Android-based tablets and Windows desktop environments, as well as other platforms.

Flare Communicator can bring UC and collaboration functions out to the iPad using either Wi-Fi or 3G networks. Among the various functions are the ability to find business associates via a contacts card and initiate an instant message, voice call or e-mail with a single touch on that contact, the ability to manage simultaneous voice calls using the iPad, and use data channels for communications to avoid roaming charges while traveling over different cellular networks.

It's a key piece of Avaya's BYOD strategy, said Tara Mahoney, senior director, applications and soft clients, and will also create pull-through for other Avaya products such as the Avaya Agile Communication Environment, used for embedding communications into business applications, and the Avaya Aura Session Border Controller (SBC).

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The Flare Communicator app is a free download from Apple's App Store, but Avaya will charge for Avaya Aura client licenses, listed at $100 per license. However, Avaya is offering a promotion whereby customers can acquire up to 50 Avaya Aura client licenses free of charge, provided they're using Avaya Aura 6.1 or a later version. The promotion extends through April 30,.

Avaya is also offering Avaya Aura 6.1 or later users 60 percent savings on list price of Avaya products such as Aura, Aura Conferencing and Avaya Flare Experience on Avaya's Desktop Video Device. That promotion launches Feb. 6 and lasts through Sept. 30. Further, Avaya is offering what it's calling the "Avaya Mobile Collaboration Pack" -- a turnkey product and services bundle that offers the Avaya Aura platform, Avaya Flare Communicator for iPad for 50 users and Avaya's one-X Mobile offering for 50 users, plus implementation, training, one year's support and a product upgrade subscription.

The availability of Flare Communicator for iPad was a big topic at Avaya's U.S. partner conference in Las Vegas in November, with several partners questioning whether Avaya's choice to extend Flare functions to iPad and other mobile device offerings that can provide video would eclipse interest in its own tablet, the Avaya Desktop Video Device.

At the time, Alan Baratz, Avaya's top technologist and now senior vice president for corporate development and strategy, said that ADVD uptake among partners and customers was solid but that the emphasis should be on the Flare Experience itself as a "foundation."

"We're creating the foundation, the platform that allows us to access Flare, whether it's software on an iPad or on the ADVD," Baratz told CRN.

Lawrence Byrd, director of UC architecture at Avaya, said this week that there is a definite place for both deployment of the ADVD and providing Flare capabilities on users' iPads. Customers can get plenty of Flare-enabled collaboration functions on the iPad, but the ADVD product offers a truer desktop video experience and the full complement of Avaya's Flare-based bells and whistles.

"They very much focus on different things," he said.