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On Avaya, Apple and the BYOD Phenomenon

27 Jan 2012 | by Rob Arnold
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Avaya announced this week the global availability of Flare Communicator for iPad. The solution makes the Avaya Flare software experience (Avaya Aura UC&C applications) available from iPad. In addition to the Avaya Desktop Video Device (ADVD), iPad is now the second endpoint with such capabilities in Avaya’s lineup. Avaya Flare Communicator is available via download from the Apple Apps Store and can be connected to Avaya Aura infrastructure (on Release 6 and higher) via a $100 client access license.

Although Avaya reports fine traction for ADVD sales (specific shipment numbers are under non-disclosure) the new development is a natural progression for the company as it embraces the “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomenon that is taking the enterprise communications market by storm.

On the same day this week Apple reported its Q4 2011 results, which delivered its highest ever quarterly revenue and earnings. With respect to iPad, the company beat most industry expectations by selling 15.4 million of the devices in the quarter, more than double the number sold in Q4 2010 and 39% more than Q3 2011. While competitors are making some gains, no one single device maker can hold a candle to iPad’s market share dominance in the burgeoning tablet sector. As a result, enterprise software developers are making their efforts to support the market leading iPad a top objective.

By focusing first on iPad, Avaya appropriately prioritized its support for Flare Communicator on third-party devices. The development gives Avaya a strong dual-pronged approach to accommodate the majority of users who want to utilize tablets as their business communications endpoint.

  • With Flare Communicator for iPad, Avaya appeals to the masses of users wanting the flexibility of utilizing the $500 Apple tablet for both business and personal reasons along with access to native iOS features and the Apple Apps Store.
  • For its part, ADVD is designed from the ground up specifically for tight integration and support for the full range of Avaya’s real-time voice, video and data communications apps (in fact a greater range than yet supported on iPad, such as videoconferencing). Available at a street price of around $2,000, ADVD users can access Android Marketplace apps for download (at the enterprise administrators discretion), and it is also lock-down device with enterprise-grade security, QoS, management, warranty and service support.

Avaya plans to support Windows and Mac next as it works to make the Flare Experience available this year to an even greater range of users and use cases. It is, however, somewhat ironic that no time table is set for Avaya to release Flare Communicator for Android since ADVD is based on Android version 2.2, Froyo. Avaya spokespersons state that the company will wait for Android fragmentation issues to settle out some more in the market, and will likely support third-party Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, devices once that version of the OS has matures, is more widely adopted, and as device front runners become more apparent.

A plethora of UC&C vendors have flocked to deliver support for their enterprise apps on iPad, particularly since iPad 2 was released last year. Among others, examples include: Cisco’s recent WebEx support; videoconferencing clients from Polycom and RADVISION; IBM’s Sametime client. We expect the announcements from UC&C vendors to keep flowing – a fact that will probably take some of the shine and excitement away from Avaya’s accomplishments. Nonetheless, all of this is undoubtedly nothing but good news for Apple, which intends to introduce iPad 3 in several months.  

Frost & Sullivan research estimates that tablets sold primarily for use in business context will reach nearly 17 million devices this year, with that number expected to more than triple by 2015 at over 51 million devices.

The BYOD phenomenon is real and shows no signs of slowing down.

Comments:

I think the Flare interface is great and people will love it on their tablets. With the aggressive forecasts for iPads used for business, the addressable market for such applications is anywhere between 150 million and 200 million by 2015. At $100 per user, the opportunity for enterprise vendors is huge.

Posted by Elka Popova | 27 Jan 2012

 
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