Avaya has debuted its latest unified communications offering featuring a touch-screen interface and a nifty tablet device.
The Avaya Flare Experience incorporates video, voice and text into one unified environment so users can access voice, video, social media, presence, IM, conferencing, context history and multiple directories from one screen.
What sets it apart from other UC solutions, though, is a touch-screen interface that allows users to initiate videoconferences and audioconferences by dragging-and-dropping contacts into a "spotlight" while also being able to use UC tools simultaneously.
Flare is delivered via a desktop tablet device featuring an 11.6-inch screen, a camera, native video and Harman Kardon speakers. The Desktop Video Device can be used on the desktop with an optional base station, or the user can carry it around for mobile collaboration. It runs on the Android operating system, so users can download additional apps onto the device.
In addition to supporting SIP, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the tablet features a VPN gateway, USB port, HDMI connection for monitors and a three-hour-plus battery life. Future versions will have VPN software built in.
The closest comparable UC solution on the market is Cisco's Cius, which the company debuted in June. It has a smaller screen-7 inches vs. Flare's 11.6 inches-but a longer battery life-8 hours vs. Flare's 3 hours. But both are based on the idea that full-scale unified communications is quickly becoming a demand among today's mobile workforce.
Avaya intends to extend Flare to other devices including smartphones, which would push unified communications even farther beyond the corporate walls. (I can only conclude that in the future such capabilities will be built into smartphones and other mobile devices, and I'm sure that's what Avaya and Cisco would like to see happen.) Until then, is tablet form factor is plenty portable.
Avaya and Cisco have set the stage for the next generation of unified communications. It's based on portability and ease of use. And in the end, the enterprise is the real winner.