Avaya Flare sets UC blogosphere on fire

When I say “UC blogosphere” I really meant No Jitter. There has to be at least a dozen posts about Flare…

Can this be true? An Avaya tablet — no, an “experience” — replacing Microsoft Lync (formerly “14”) as the favorite topic to write about by industry bloggers and analysts.

Bloggers and industry analysts used to go ga ga over the next generation of Microsoft OCS. No more. Now they are mesmerized by the Avaya Flare, the branding of the experience of using a bundle of Avaya solutions, one of them being an Android tablet (but Avaya prefers not to use that t-word because it makes people think about the Apple iPad).

It’s an Android tablet that’ll make $2,000 disappear from your precious wallet. And you thought the pricing for the Cisco Cius was excessive? So tablet devices are supposed to offer greater mobility and lower cost, and that’s why we’re seeing more and more companies buying up iPads for employees. The base model for an iPad (WiFi-only) costs $500 and comes with access to thousands of applications (free and paid). The Flare costs four times as much and is only meant to be used with Avaya products.

Being able to conduct video conferences using the Flare looks awesome (“high definition, low bandwidth”), but so could a $250 netbook with built-in webcam. You do the math. Especially in this economy.

For an experience that’ll run me two grand, I’d expected free massages and drinks with tiny umbrellas to come with the package too, but I didn’t see that in any of the marketing material

Where is Avaya going with this device? To make a mark in the tablet space? To keep Cisco in check? To sell more hardware? To demonstrate its software development prowess? To generate buzz?

This thing isn’t going to sell. I predict Avaya giving away this tablet to some high profile customers (old or new) as a thank you gift for buying tons of Avaya telecom and UC gear. That scenario becomes even more plausible when tablet makers like Apple, Samsung, and HP refresh their tablet hardware with webcam capability. Not to mention there will be many more tablets from other manufacturer in the years to come.

Avaya gained a 3% market share edge over Cisco in the global PBX market thanks to the half-a-billion dollar acquisition of Nortel ES. I’m afraid to find out how much money was spent on developing this tablet and its impact on UC market share.


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