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Scant VMware EUC updates leave IT wondering about IoT

VMware didn't move its EUC portfolio many steps forward during VMworld this year, and no word on its IoT plans, leaving some IT pros disappointed.

SAN FRANCISCO – As the second general session came to a close at VMworld, IT pros were left wondering what exactly is in store for VMware's end-user computing and IoT technologies.

Despite integration of AirWatch and App Volumes with Project A Squared, the keynote speakers didn't focus on enterprise mobility or VMware desktop virtualization – an odd decision as most people expected end-user computing (EUC) news to make a splash. Instead, attendees were left with a Horizon 6.2 release, mobile backend as a service integration with VMware's unified hybrid cloud, and a few other updates to mobile app delivery.

VMware EUC updates have been scarce at VMworlds past, too. This year, some expected to hear more about VMware's answer to Citrix Workspace Cloud, Project Enzo. And in a world where the Internet of Things (IoT) is today's hot topic, it was surprising not to hear more about connected devices from VMware executives.

Where's the IoT?

Last October, VMware joined the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) to work with other technology providers to advance enterprise IoT initiatives.

Citrix, by contrast, isn't part of the IIC but made a major IoT play with its acquisition of Octoblu this year as part of its "integration of everything" strategy.

But it's still early days for IoT, and some VMworld attendees expect VMware will jump in over the next few years.

"What I expect VMware to get into is more ways to deliver value through IoT," said Mariano Maluf, a global IT manager at Coca-Cola and member of the Coca-Cola System IT Council's IoT Working Group. "The world is going to be more connected, so clearly VMware's value proposition is: 'How can we manage that?'"

Extending AirWatch to manage connected IoT devices would be one way to do that -- and by gearing AirWatch toward managing and securing any application on any device at this year's conference, VMware is starting down that path to IoT, Maluf said, who is also president of the VMware User Group (VMUG). AirWatch could be used to manage and secure data sent back and forth from devices with embedded sensors, he said.

VMware is already working to bring AirWatch management to more connected devices, according to Brian Katz, director of mobile strategy at VMware.

"We are actively engaged in IoT with AirWatch," he said. "We're working on our IoT story."

The company is working with several businesses to manage IoT devices and sensors with AirWatch, according to a VMware spokesperson.

That’s a big area of interest among VMUG members.

"Our community is trying to make sense of 'How does IoT affect me as an IT practitioner?'" Maluf said. "'How do I get closer to leveraging those innovations to bring value to my own environment?'"

Other attendees agreed that extending AirWatch to more applications is no small update.

"I've been ignoring AirWatch for the past couple years, but today I perked up and thought: Now that's cool," said Steve Athanas, director of platforms and systems engineering at University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Boston VMUG Leader. "Where they're going is this completely ubiquitous application environment."

AirWatch could be the presentation layer for many different applications now, almost as if VMware is making AirWatch alone the new Horizon Workspace, he said.

The company could be saving more mobility updates -- even around IoT -- for the AirWatch Connect conference later this month.

Alyssa Wood is managing editor for TechTarget’s End-User Computing Media Group. Contact her at [email protected].

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