Breaking down the silos between mobile and desktop management is becoming a priority for IT leaders. In AirWatch’s latest software release, AirWatch 8 addresses the concerns of these independent silos and provides features to enable collaboration and security across mobile and desktop platforms.
These new features include desktop endpoint support for Chromebooks and real time operating systems typically used in IoT infrastructures like QNX, both of which can be secured and managed by AirWatch.
In a previous blog post Eric Klein, senior analyst at VDC Research elaborated on the union of mobile and desktop solutions. “Modernizing management tools is an important thing to do,” he noted. “It’s way more desirable to have one management solution. We are entering into this new world of mobile, and ultimately heading toward a post-PC era. A unified system will help companies keep up with the changes.”
Chrome OS management
AirWatch 8 is the first release that includes Chrome OS management. With lightweight bodies, fast processors and a relatively low pricetag, Chromebooks are especially popular in education today. With AirWatch 8 unified endpoint management, IT will now be able to blacklist and whitelist websites and view the list of available applications on Chrome OS. AirWatch Chrome OS management also allows the IT administrator to organize devices by pushing down web apps and bookmarks, specifically helpful for recommending to students websites to read or video to watch.
Other Chrome OS management features include remote view for instructors. IT admins are able to troubleshoot remotely and instructors are able to assist a student with questions. Users can enable screen sharing with the remote view and, for example, an instructor can show a student where to access answers to his homework.
AirWatch 8 also includes enhanced QNX management capabilities. QNX is used in various verticals and will play a stronger role in the IoT space. With the support of QNX, AirWatch has made a successful entry into the consumer products vertical and is well positioned to address the needs of the burgeoning Connected Car market.
With QNX, similar to Android and Windows Mobile, users have the ability to push down apps, profiles and file packages in product containers, collect and push custom attributes and have improved remote management and troubleshooting abilities. Given the need for efficient content distribution to devices, AirWatch 8 supports distributed nodes for content locality; a huge benefit with bandwidth utilization. The new AirWatch release also provides ways to send down either a union of multiple products or a mutual exclusion based on priorities, a flexibility that is useful in certain verticals.
The new custom attribute profile allows for profile changes to originate not only from the IT admin console but also from the device. This allows for users in the field to configure devices on-site and provide feedback the IT admin may not see. With improved features on remote management in this new release, users can also remotely access the screen and file system of any enrolled device and can execute commands from within the command line. Overall, AirWatch 8 delivers improved API workflows for QNX devices. These features enable a stronger exchange of data between the devices and software, and the API workflows generate data that can be used for varying degrees of analytics.
AirWatch 8 also taps into managing and securing printers. Through partnering printers including Zebra and Datamax-O’Neil, AirWatch helps manage profiles that can edit printer label sizes, upload files to printers and track battery life. AirWatch 8 enables enrollment of several new Zebra and Datamax printer models that can communicate more data into the console and streamline operations.
With these enhancements, AirWatch 8 enables many more devices and ‘endpoints’ in the unified endpoint management ecosystem. AirWatch unites these devices through its security software and drives the trending growth toward a mobile and desktop management solution.