Flare Communicator for iPad is exiting beta and is now available as a free download from the iTunes App Store. Avaya's software for unified communications and social media integration originally came to market last year, embedded in the Flare Desktop Video Device. The iPad version does not support video, but it does include the visual directory of contacts, which can include social media links, along with a unified communications client for VoIP calling, email, and instant messaging.
"This is meant to be much more of a mobile, roaming, wireless remote office that you can set up in an instant," Lawrence Byrd, director of collaboration solutions, said in an interview.
[ How is open source tackling unified communications? See Open Source Asterisk Telephony Goes High-Def. ]
Although the Flare desktop device is based on Google's Android mobile operating system, it's not actually a mobile device like the Cisco Cius, which is marketed as an enterprise-grade tablet that you can carry with you or plug into a desktop phone docking station. The Flare desktop device is meant to be a touchscreen master controller for voice and video calls and conferences that sits side-by-side with the phone and never leaves the office.
To go mobile, Avaya is focusing on supporting consumer tablets like the iPad rather than manufacturing its own. The Flare software experience will also be coming to other platforms, including Windows desktops, but Avaya made getting it working on the iPad a high priority.
The Flare Communicator for iPad does not yet do video, although Byrd said that will be coming in a follow-up release. That's one area where the Cius might be considered to be ahead, since it supports video whether in the dock or on the go. However, Byrd thinks video can wait.
"We found a lot of use cases that made sense without video," Byrd said. "Most of the enterprises we're talking to are not ready for iPads, they're not ready for voice on iPads, and they're really not ready for video on iPads. We see this as an opportunity for many organizations to start simple, starting with voice."
One organization planning to take advantage of Flare on the iPad is Westlake Financial Services, which works with car dealerships on auto loan financing. Farrell Johnson, advertising and corporate communications manager, said the firm has 200 sales representatives who spend most of their time visiting dealerships, and the Flare should allow them to access the company phone and email systems on the go.
Westlake bought all its representatives iPads for Christmas, mostly so they could access loan processing applications on the road, Johnson said, and the Avaya integration will make the tablets more valuable. "I think the main thing will be easier access to contacts," he said. "Our CEO loves to be able to see people's pictures in contacts," and the Flare app helps enable that through integration with social media apps.
The Enterprise Connect conference program covers the full range of platforms, services, and applications that comprise modern communications and collaboration systems. It happens March 25-29 in Orlando, Fla. Find out more.