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Citrix Introduced the Power of IoT to Business with Workspace Hub During Citrix Synergy

One of the more memorable events during Citrix Synergy 2015 was during the keynote presentation where Mark Templeton and Chris Fleck introduced the audience to a new piece of prototype hardware that the pair claimed would transform the workplace.

Being dubbed the "Workspace Hub," the 3 inch device is an ARM based full function Android machine that's optimized for the Citrix Workspace solution.  The prototype hardware plans on transforming PC displays or conference room TVs into an intelligent Workspace for individuals or teams.  And while the Hub may at first glance look like any other HDMI dongle on the market, it isn't.  Citrix decided they needed to create their own solution because they said other devices already in the market just didn't have the features that Citrix required.

As an example, the Citrix Hub comes with dual Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct so that direct connections can be made without overloading corporate access points.  It also has dual Bluetooth 4.0 which allows flexible peripheral support and iBeacon functionality.  NFC is also included to allow easy pairing to supported devices.  And for traveling purposes, it will have an onboard three-hour battery, a VGA adapter and a unique male/female HDMI connector. 

The Hub works in two ways.  First is the automatic connection where a registered device will start casting to the external screen via Workspace Hub when in range.  This happens securely in two seconds with no log-on, re-authentication or any effort.  That's because the session is actually still running on the iPad Receiver, while the HDX Video is being redirected to the Hub.  And when leaving the area, the iBeacon recognizes the device went out of range and transfers the video back to normal.  Second is when a device gets within proximity to the Hub iBeacon, a notification goes out to indicate that a Hub is nearby.  The user is offered the option to transfer their desktop to the external screen with a two finger flick.  A swipe down brings the session back to their device.  In a shared conference room, multiple users can take turns "flicking" their device display to a shared TV or projector.

Templeton told audience members that Citrix is trying to bring the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to the business environment to make people more productive.  

To help with that vision or goal, the automation of the Workspace Hub will leverage the Octoblu technology acquired by Citrix.  Octoblu provides the glue" that will integrate everything together (IoE = Integration of Everything).  The demo on stage during Citrix Synergy started off with some simple on/off style workflows.  But things get really interesting when the diagram workflows of the Octoblu software get way more expansive.

A demo of some of the actions enabled by Octoblu included:
  • A phone rings from GoToMeeting and the workflow started the audio in the room without someone having to fumble around in search for dial-in numbers and meeting codes
  • The conference room IP camera is automatically started
  • And the meeting is automatically joined
  • Amazon Echo is asked, “Alexa, send late reminders,“ and Octoblu identifies who is late to the meeting based on Outlook invites versus those who were currently logged in to the GoToMeeting session
  • And it then automatically sends out a series of SMS reminders to those individuals late to the meeting.
  • At the conclusion of the meeting, the organizer commands Amazon Echo, "Alexa, End Meeting" and GoToMeeting ends
  • And it automatically uploads the recorded meeting to ShareFile and then sends out the recording link via email to all of the attendees.

That's just one small example of how the Octoblu workflows and Hub can make things easier, more automated, taking away some of the boring manual steps involved (which also removes human error). 

If you missed it, here's a video VMblog did with Chris Fleck on the show floor during Synergy.


Published Monday, June 01, 2015 6:20 AM by David Marshall
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