The Friday Notebook: June 23, 2017

Featuring a big BlackBerry Secure update, VMware Horizon 7.2, Fleetsmith Mac management free edition, Liquidware, Hypori, and our blog posts.

This is our weekly log of everything that’s happened in the EUC, EMM, and desktop virtualization space, collected and co-written by me and Gabe.


VMware released Horizon 7.2 this week, which features official support for Skype for Business, among other things. Skype for Business support was once cited by a trusted insider as the single primary advantage that Citrix had over VMware in desktop virtualization, and though Citrix’s implementation is undoubtedly more advanced, VMware’s ability to check the box in the feature comparison is important.

Among the other features of Horizon 7.2 (which also includes updates to the Linux VDA and some scalability enhancements) is the Horizon Help Desk Tool. This new tool is a streamlined interface designed for Level 1 and 2 support teams that allows them to perform basic troubleshooting and administrative tasks like resetting the VM and launching Remote Assistance. It’s not earth-shattering, but it will be helpful.

Are you a planner? If so, you may be interested to know that VMware posted the VMworld content catalog, which features 641 sessions spread over the four-day show. 140 of those sessions feature something related to End User Computing (no doubt bolstered by the merging of AirWatch Connect into VMworld).

BlackBerry announced a big round of updates for BlackBerry Secure, which is the name for the EMM platform that emerged when they combined BES and Good Technology. We previously covered the integration process and the finished results from last December. Some of the highlights in the present update include support for managing Microsoft Office mobile apps (I’m assuming via the Graph API for Intune); a mention of BlackBerry Access for desktop OSes (this is the “MAM for desktops” concept that I’ve always liked); more analytics capabilities; support for managing wearables; a new SDK for partners to integrate with the BlackBerry Secure core platform; updates to the productivity apps; and a lot more. It really is a big list—check out the rest here. I was pretty amazed with how they got through the bulk of the integration in 2016, but clearly they’re not resting yet. (One last note: Their earnings came out this morning, and things are a bit mixed, but it's really going to be a while longer until we see how the new BlackBerry Secure compares to the rest of the EMM space.) 

Last November I wrote about Fleetsmith, a recently-launched Mac management startup. This week they announced a free edition for up to 10 users, with full functionality, forever—so it’s more than just a basic trial. In addition, they announced support for managing more apps, some general administrative updates, and more beta customers—you can head to their blog post for more details. There are a lot of directions Fleetsmith could go with the product (one thing I’m wondering about is integration with more directories or identity sources) and a lot of space for Mac management to spread, so I’ll continue to follow them to see what’s next.

IBM is bringing MaaS360 (EMM) and their identity products closer together, noting that “IBM customers who are already using [...] MaaS360 for mobile security can activate Cloud Identity with a single click, straight from their existing product implementation.” It’s been awhile since we’ve caught up with MaaS360, so we’ll reach out to learn more about the latest updates.

Hypori is making a new push for Virtual Mobile Infrastructure by releasing their vPhone platform. It doesn’t sound all that dissimilar from their past VMI, whereby end users use their mobile devices to access a corporate phone environment located in a remote, secure datacenter (think VDI for mobile apps). We haven’t paid much attention to this space in a while, but perhaps it’s worth another look to see what’s changed since we spoke on the topic at BriForum Denver 2015. Individual users can sign up for a vPhone trial, so if you want, check it out.

Our blog posts

Jack: Just wait, the mobile/cloud world is going to “rediscover” VDI and DaaS. We’ve always said that the long-term future of Windows desktop apps is in the data center. Mobile and cloud maturity could be the turning point that makes it happen.

Gabe: Liquidware's new version of FlexApp speeds up logons with Click-to-Layer. Liquidware's upcoming version of FlexApp will introduce Click-to-Layer functionality that speeds up logon times by merging applications on-demand.

Jack: Scam iOS apps illustrate the role of mobile threat defense. iOS and the Apple App Store really are very safe, but they’re not perfect. Some companies will want some third-party verification. (I wrote this in response to a wild story about an app that had $100 per week in-app subscription to do basically nothing.)

Gabe: Do we need more help managing resource-sucking web browsers? Web browsing is becoming increasingly resource-intensive, and it's usually not the fault of our applications. The nature of today's internet, with ads and videos, is sucking the life out of our desktops. 

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