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AirWatch 9.0 adds support for augmented reality technology and more

AirWatch looks to get out ahead of the emerging era of wearables and internet of things devices by adding support for AR headsets and smartglasses to AirWatch 9.0.

ATLANTA -- As businesses prepare to adopt augmented reality and the internet of things, their device management software will have to catch up.

In anticipation of that need, AirWatch 9.0, the new version of VMware's enterprise mobility management platform, adds support for augmented reality (AR) headsets, internet of things devices and smartwatches.

Augmented reality technology in particular is something that many businesses do not yet use but will in the coming years, said Mark Shimer, service assurance manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb, a pharmaceutical company based in New York. For instance, medical school students could take advantage of AR headsets and applications to learn about the human body without using cadavers -- an example mentioned during the AirWatch Connect keynote this week. 

"I think that's a great use case," Shimer said. "As time goes on and people come up with different ideas, there will be a zillion different uses for augmented reality."

AirWatch already manages smartphones, tablets, Microsoft Windows PCs and Apple Macs. With AirWatch 9.0, IT pros will also be able to manage devices such as Microsoft's Surface Hub super tablet, the Microsoft HoloLens AR headset and Android-powered smartglasses.

It's important for existing enterprise mobility management (EMM) customers to be able to add these new types of devices into their organizations, said Matt Taylor, IT director at Autoliv, an automotive safety systems manufacturer based in Stockholm, Sweden. Autoliv is in the early stages of testing HoloLens' augmented reality technology, which could help workers view blueprints hands-free while working on machines, or simulate different projects for training purposes, Taylor said.

As time goes on, there will be a zillion different uses for augmented reality.
Mark Shimerservice assurance manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb

"We do see a future in those areas," he added.

AirWatch is also partnering with wearable software vendors Atheer, Intel, ODG and Vuzix to manage wearable apps.

"When you look at [internet of things] and wearables, they have fragmented ecosystems, and so it's a fragmented experience to manage them," said Blake Brannon, vice president of product marketing at AirWatch. "We took our core EMM platform and extended them to these technologies."

Airplane manufacturing titan Boeing uses AirWatch to manage employees' mobile devices and APX Labs' Skylight to deliver and manage wearable apps. (AirWatch also partnered with APX Labs this week.) Skylight allows Boeing workers to see schematics and instructions on their smartglasses while building planes. The software also allows workers to share video clips, images and audio of what they are working on and feed data to other workers in real time.

"We needed an enterprise-grade device management solution to continue [working] with Boeing," said Jay Kim, chief strategy officer at APX Labs.

AirWatch 9.0 will be available this quarter, AirWatch said. It follows the same pricing structure as the previous version, starting at $4.33 per device, per month.

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