Avaya is bringing its mobile collaboration platform to Apple's iPad, and officials said they expect to enable the unified communications technology for tablets running Google's Android operating system in the future.
Avaya announced Jan. 24 that its Flare Communicator for iPads is now available as an application in the Apple App Store, giving users of the popular tablet enterprise-class voice, instant messaging and presence with email integration.
"It's designed to make it easy for everyday people to do sophisticated communication and collaboration tasks [on the iPad]," Lawrence Byrd, director of unified communications (UC) architecture at Avaya, told eWEEK.
Avaya officials introduced the Avaya Flare Experience in September 2010, delivering the communications technology on the company's Avaya Desktop Video Device, a Google Android-based tablet device. The Avaya device was seen as the company's answer to rival Cisco Systems' Cius, another enterprise-focused Android tablet.
Now Avaya is looking to expand the Flare capabilities to the iPad, which is by far the dominant device in the burgeoning tablet market. Other OEMs have jumped into the space, most of them offering Android-driven devices, but have been met with limited success. Byrd said Avaya chose the iPad to get started on, but will consider other Android tablets down the road.
Avaya also will expand the Flare offering to smartphones, he said. Avaya currently offers its one-X Mobile UC client on smartphones, but will look to extend Flare to other mobile devices in the future.
The Avaya Flare Communicator for iPad is supported by Avaya's Aura UC platform, which offers a growing number of integrated communications capabilities for both fixed and mobile devices. Through the Avaya Flare Communicator app, users and their companies will be able to see the availability of contacts and quickly launch an IM, voice call or email through a single tap.
With their iPad, they also will be able to manage two voice calls at the same time, multitask on the tablet, and search and manage the corporate directory and contacts. They will be able to communicate via WiFi hotspots for 3G networks.
Avaya and other vendors in the communications space, including Cisco and Polycom, are enabling their technologies to run on the iPad and other consumer mobile devices as tablets and smartphones become increasingly popular in the business world. Byrd said that 70 percent of the Fortune 100 companies are adding iPhones and iPads into their device mix to some degree. In a recent survey, Cisco found that tablets are becoming increasingly popular in the enterprise, with growth expected for 2012.
Tablets and smartphones are also driving the growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) push, with the trend moving away from businesses issuing employees phones and toward employees using their own devices and demand access to the company's network and data.
Byrd said Avaya saw that interest first-hand during a test period for the Flare Communicator for iPad, during which there were 4,000 downloads of the app and more than 90 beta customers. Avaya is offering the app as a free download from the Apple App Store.
To fuel that interest, Avaya is letting businesses with Avaya Aura 6.1 or later to obtain up to 50 Avaya Aura client access licenses for free to connect users to Flare Communicator during an introductory offer from Jan. 24 through April 30.