After quietly acquiring Octoblu last year, Citrix's plans for the machine-to-machine (M2M) networking company's technology came into sharper focus during this week's Synergy conference in Orlando, Fla.
Dubbed simply Workspace Automation, it's a service the company is planning to roll out to its new Workspace Cloud, said Citrix CEO Mark Templeton. The platform offers a glimpse into how Citrix plans to deliver adaptive virtual desktop experiences to mobile workforces that are no longer tethered to desktop PCs. "The way you automate workspaces is by using the power of IoT, the Internet of Things," said Templeton during his second-day keynote. "And by using the power of IoT, you can automate the workspace so that all of the complexities get out of the way, so that you can focus on the task."
The technology foundation that enables workflows to seamlessly transfer across devices and work scenarios is called Project Octoblu. "From a technology perspective it is IoT," he said, but Citrix's spin on it is "IoE" or the Integration of Everything, he continued.
Templeton then invited Chris Fleck, vice president of the company's Emerging Solutions division, to demonstrate how Octoblu and a new prototype device called WorkspaceHub can help businesses explore the Internet of Things' (IoT) potential to boost productivity. Resembling an oversized USB flash drive, WorkspaceHub is powered by Octoblu's IoT software and features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) connectivity, along with VGA and HDMI ports for video output."
Clutching an iPad running Citrix's virtual desktop software, Fleck showed off how a hypothetical doctor can attend to patients better and reclaim precious minutes during the workday without having to log in each time they interact with technology or acclimate to different PC setups and configurations. Two seconds after placing the iPad in his desktop setup, the virtual desktop transferred to a full-sized computer display linked to WorkspaceHub.
More than a location-aware screencasting solution, Octoblu's technology also enabled Fleck's virtual desktop environment to set the printer to local and updated his Microsoft Lync status (now Skype for Business) automatically. After leaving WorkspaceHub's range, the virtual desktop reappeared on Fleck's iPad.
Moving to conference room setup, Fleck was able to transfer his desktop to a large display with a flicking gesture. Partnering with Amazon, the technology integrated with Amazon Echo, the cloud and e-tailing giant's voice-enabled connected home hub to join a conference call.
Another partner is chip-making giant Intel. Holding up a compact Moon Island IoT gateway with HDMI, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity from Intel that fits in the palm of one's hand, Templeton added that "this entire platform can run" on the device. "Basically, this device can connect to anything," he said, allowing organizations to implement IoT-enabled businesses processes that incorporate a wide variety of smart devices and services.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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