Enabling the Digital Workspace

Enabling the Digital Workspace

Last month I attended the Enabling the Digital Workspace event by VMware and AirWatch in London. This is my summary and personal thoughts on the day.

The event was presented by:

  • Ian Evans Vice President End User Computing.
  • Dor Zakai Director Sales Engineering EUC.
  • Thibaut Bellon Manager Systems Engineering AirWatch.

Keynote: Digital Workspace Vision

The Keynote on Digital Workspace Vision was presented by Ian Evans Vice President End User Computing.

I suspose the first question is What is digital workspace? well the digital workspace is all about convergence so watch this quick 90 second video for a overview.

Ian took us on a journey on how much the mobile market has changed over the last few years now that AirWatch is now 5 years old.

In the beginning we had blackberry and I will say now that Im a blackberry lover in the world of mobile email. But back then we used to give people a blackberry, turn off the Camera, WIFI, Bluetooth, Instant messaging all in the name of security and here we are some 7 years or so later and that is now basically unacceptable for any user to palate let alone an IT department offer to a user.

An interesting statistic Ian gave us was that 60% of employees would prefer to use a personal device for work and play, so BYOD is here to stay, Again I’m still old school and I like the separation of my personal device and a work device so when I get home I leave the work device where it won’t bother me. (I will say that this goes for my personal device as well given I have hardly any mobile signal where I live) maybe if I had better coverage I would change my behaviour.

This statistic can be further broken down in that 69% of companies have adopted BYOD (as my own has) but worse 30% of employees use their own devices despite company policy not allowing this. So if you’re the kind of organisation who doesn’t have a BYOD strategy then you might need to see what your users are doing. So Security is no longer just about lockdown and disable but how do I enable and how do I protect.

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Discover VMware AirWatch: Enterprise Mobility Redefined

Next up was Dor Zakai Director Sales engineering EUC and he took us through a number of benefits of AirWatch now I’ve seen Dor present before and he just loves AirWatch and what it can do for any organisation.

The key points were how great AirWatch is at the thing it needs to be good at:

  • Identity and security of that Identity using one or many factor authentication.
  • Mobile apps, they really are here and now (look at uber it wasn’t here just two years ago)
  • Unified endpoint management over multiple devices.
  • Unify the user experience across any device.
  • Separate work and personal apps. (Allow it to only manage and secure the work apps and data)
  • Prevent data flow between work and personal apps.
  • Allow it to only manage and secure the work apps and data.
  • Automate process and deliver insights for a more efficient IT.
  • Integrate with the best of breed solutions.
  • Mobile initiatives to fit your needs.
  • Console supports 19 languages.

The key to mobile productivity with consumer simple apps like:

  • Workspace one (email, Calendar, contacts, documents and chat)
  • Browser
  • Content locker
  • Boxer
  • Social cast
  • Video


I was particularly interested in seeing the New Boxer Email client and it has some cool productivity features.

This is a fully integrated client and Dor demonstrated the calendar availability function which at a simple press of a button will read your calendar produce a HTML5 list of when your available and then paste it in to an email ready to send to someone. The other is Smart folders which will learn which emails you want to see first in the inbox, so not just the new unread emails but maybe you would want emails from your Boss to always be at the top. (you do want that bonus right!)


Privacy first

There have been some big changes around Privacy to put user’s minds at rest over what all of us big bad IT departments are tracking in terms of our users and our devices. I believe the phase mentioned was “Privacy first” protection for end users and IT.

There is now a Privacy App that you can install on devices this tells the user what data is and isn’t being gathered by AirWatch. The other big initiative is the website what is AirWatch, set up to educate users on what AirWatch is and does. So before you start to roll out AirWatch they recommend that you point your users and HR departments to the site.

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Modernising Windows Management through VMware AirWatch

Thibaut Bellon Manager Systems Engineering AirWatch

One of the biggest changes to the Windows platform is Windows 10, is it a Desktop, Mobile or Tablet Operation system? In previous years IT departments would control the desktop with group Policy’s spend weeks and months making sure the desktop was just right (and secure ish) but now we are all smaller lighter teams we can’t wait for the next desktop rollout to happen, Windows 10 is here and now and the good news is AirWatch can manage it.

Apparently according to Microsoft 76% of Microsoft enterprise and education customers are in active Windows 10 pilots. I find this a little high and in fact only 20% of the room admitted to it.

There are 2 options to Windows 10 Management with AirWatch:

  • Traditional management tools can still be used.
  • New enterprise mobile management (EMM) techniques.

Now using the 2nd optioAirWatch brings its EMM capabilities to the table for:

  • Simplified and flexible deployment.
  • Device and app lifecycle management.
  • End to end security.
  • Enterprise readiness

The Key points here are:

  •  Lifecycle management: AirWatch provides unified endpoint management across any device type even if the user has an android phone, Apple table and Windows laptop.
  • Cloud Ready: Mobile cloud apps demand new access control mechanism as traditional access control mechanisms no longer apply. The days of the perimeter firewall are now long gone and Cloud is here to stay so AirWatch is ready for this and can help with security.
  • Conditional Access: AirWatch can help you control who can run what applications and from where.
  • Authentication: AirWatch is ready to utilise multi factor and Biometric authentication.
  • AirWatch Tunnel and Per App VPN : another cool feature that AirWatch brings is app tunneling with the AirWatch Tunnel. This allows your end users to access corporate resources behind the firewall externally from their mobile device.

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VMware AirWatch Unified Endpoint Management

Dor is back and this time highlighting how the AirWatch enterprise mobility platform seamlessly unifies identity, native applications and device management technologies across all end- points.

The key points here are:

  • User centric
  • Cloud based scalable architecture
  • Consistent policy engine
  • End user self service
  • Real time analytics and reporting
  • Use cases corporate owned or BYOD devices
  • Unique technologies to manage the device cycle (activate, manage, secure and configure)
  • Adaptive management so manage the user not the device
  • The console has dynamic and modular dashboards and detailed and exportable reports
  • Configuration can be overwhelming So easy policy’s configuration with industry templates

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Case Studies

A number of case studies were mentioned from UK hospitals and schools to airlines who save money on printing costs and destruction of paper costs. Or retail companies who save time and costs on stocktaking and ordering. But I won’t repeat the list here if you want more go to http://www.air-watch.com/resources/case-studies/


Well what can I say, I’m already an AirWatch user and administrator so It’s no surprise that I like the product, but what I really like now is how its bringing us a set of tools that we can use to start slowly and then ramp up as we need then, so start with say one device and then add another, or add BYOD or CYOD. I’m also a horizon user and whilst we don’t integrate the products yet, it’s good to know that I can add on Workspace One and Identity manager at some point, or maybe I’m a step closer to a Windows 10 deployment. So watch this space.


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