Avaya puts up a Flare to partners on new video opportunities

Avaya Flare Experience tablet

Avaya’s Flare Experience aims to duke it out with the Cisco Cius in the videoconferencing tablet arena.

On the surface, Avaya’s recent video-centric Flare Experience announcement might seem to be another step in the “anything you can do, I can do better” dance between networking vendors looking to diversify their portfolios and extend their reaches.

But hidden behind the glitz behind the Flare tablet device – which was clearly designed to compete with Cisco’s much-discussed Cius tablet device introduced earlier this year – there’s the beginning of a big video shift for Avaya here.

“It’s high time that we, as vendors, offer the true value of UC, and adding video is just one more element,” said Amir Hameed, Avaya Canada’s director of national solutions specialists. “We have the experience, our channel partners have the experience. At the end of the day, it boils down to packets, and we all know that.”

Avaya’s doing that by focusing on standards and interoperability, Hameed said, with video conferencing gear that plays nicely with SIP-compliant systems or the legacy H.323 video protocol used by vendors including Polycom and Tandberg.

Here’s where Hameed sees the biggest opportunities for the company’s Canadian solution provider community:

  • Branch retail and banking: The Flare device is ideal for kiosks, Hameed suggested.
  • Healthcare: Video and tablets are big drivers in this space, and the Flare Experience is addressing both.
  • The executive suite: The gang in the big offices sure do love their toys, and here’s a chance to lead with a slick new gadget and use it to drive a more complete sale instead of dedicated high-definition videoconferencing terminals.
  • Power users: Enterprise grad collaboration, including video conferencing, voice, e-mail and more in a hot little device. “It really simplifies life for those individuals as well,” Hameed said.
  • Those with existing video investments: Avaya’s focusing on technologies that play nice with others and betting that a lot of customers will be more receptive to incremental upgrades than they will be to the dreaded “rip and replace.”
  • Existing Avaya customers: All of the new products map back to the company’s Aura 6.0 Communications Manager and Session Manager, introduced in July. That allows partners with customers already deploying that stack to look for a little upsale action.
  • Other opportunities you’ll find in your customer base: “There are infinite possibilities where it maps value into the end user customer,” Hameed said.

Hameed said many of the company’s Canadian partners already have video practices or at least have dabbled in video with other vendors. He said Avaya will seek to offer “another niche” for video as well as trumpeting the integration and cross-compatibility message. “There isn’t a great barrier because partners are already down the path” towards video, Hameed said.

Of the company’s new video lineup, the Avaya 1010 and 102 video conferencing products and the 1X Communicator are already available in the channel, while the company’s Collaboration Server and the Flare tablet device are slated to launch shortly.

“We’re already in talks with partners today on how to implement and support all of them,” Hameed said.

Avaya partners – does the company’s video strategy create opportunities for you? Buzz back in the comments below and let us know.