I’m in Atlanta this week for the AirWatch Connect conference. Since VMware acquired AirWatch back in January, we’ve been getting a long-term big-picture view of their combined end user computing plans throughout the year. All that was summed up a few weeks ago at VMworld, so this week will be more of a deep dive into all things mobile.
This means that when it comes to new announcements, we’re not going to get anything as quite as big as we got earlier this year. (It’s not like a few years ago when we could report on companies entering completely new mobile product categories practically every other week.)
That’s not to say that this week isn’t signification—there are numerous announcements of all sizes coming out of AirWatch Connect. (I’ll make a running list of these down below.)
However, the main story here is how the large volume of work they’ve been doing adds up to an impressive and comprehensive strategy in several different areas. First, there are the enterprise EUC efforts combined with VMware that we’re most familiar with here at BrianMadden.com. Beyond that there are all the efforts around specific vertical industries (they highlight education and healthcare), the large number of mobile industry partnerships, and the evolution of the AirWatch platform itself.
In terms of AirWatch’s growth, they’re throwing around few different figures. They say they have 13,000 customers today, compared to 7,000 a year ago. Their international business is strong, especially now that VMware can sell AirWatch, too. And they’re continuing to grow their headcount, which is 1900 right now, and planned to peak at 2100 at the end of the year.
Of course AirWatch and the enterprise mobility industry have their challenges, too. While certain facets have matured, it’s still a young industry. Most companies outside of the large enterprise are just barely getting into mobility. There are still many unanswered questions and debates about how to even go about the basics of enterprise mobility. And AirWatch has strong competitors like Citrix and MobileIron. The partnership between IBM and Apple could bring also bring strong competition, and Microsoft getting ready to get into EMM in a much bigger way, too. I’ll have a chance to ask AirWatch’s top leadership about all these challenges, so stay tuned.
This week's announcements and what they're highlighting:
(Stay tuned—I'll fill in more details as I get them.)
AirWatch AppShield partnership with MADP vendors (new this week). The AppShield program ensures that mobile app development platform products will work with AirWatch's MAM SDK and app wrapping tools. Partners announced include Adobe, Appcelerator, Kony, MicroStrategy, Oracle, salesforce.com, Sencha, Telerik and Xamarin. If you're not familiar with MADP, check out my recent article on how it relates to EMM.
Partnership with SAP (announced at VMworld).
Partnership with global consulting firm Capgemini (new this week)
Evidently some type of relationship with HP? (Ongoing.) HP is a big sponsor here, and an HP executive was on stage at the keynote talking about how important AirWatch is for their services. So if you're wondering what HP is doing around EMM, apparently that's your answer.
Updates to AirWatch Inbox email app (updated this week). Inbox now supports S/MIME and is optimized for iPad.
The AirWatch app catalogue now lets you access remote desktops through VMware Horizon (fairly recent).
AirWatch Chat app (new this week).
AirWatch Video app (new this week). This is sort of like a version of Secure Content Locker, but specifically tailored for distributing videos.
Improved laptop management (new this week). During the keynote, Blake Brannon demonstrated enrolling a MacBook using the Apple Device Enrollment program, which is pretty slick. He also demonstrated Windows 8.1 MDM-style management. We've known about this for a while, but it was cool to see it actually up and running. The extra cool part about this is that for both Windows 8.1 and Mac OS X, AirWatch is combining the MDM APIs with a traditional management agent, because after all we're still talking about desktop OSes here.
New administration options for the console, including smart groups, IT automation, enterprise workflows, and more (new with the most recent console releases). Attendees have commented that these days the AirWatch console is very easy and pleasant to use.
A more unified experience among all of AirWatch's apps (coming this fall). As updates roll out over the next few months, AirWatch will work to unify the user experience and interface and make sure security policies are consistent.
Support for Microsoft Information Rights Management (coming sometime in the future). In the keynote, John Marshall mentioned the idea of having policy tied to data. In a post-keynote interview, Blake Brannon told me that AirWatch plans to add support for Microsoft IRM in their apps. This is one version of that "mobile information management" concept that we talk about.