Every now and then I get really excited about a newly released or upgraded product. I must confess it doesn’t happen that often, but what does it for me is when I see something that I know is the missing piece in a particular jigsaw. And that jigsaw is connected to the title of this blog. My jigsaws, and their pictures, are almost always user or business solution oriented, you might say down the stack, which is Capgemini’s role in the industry, whereas products and product vendors think more around the technology capabilities, or up the stack.
This morning I read an announcement from a specialist company called RealVNC http://www.realvnc.com whose core product they describe as: provides remote control software which lets you see and interact with desktop applications across any network. The product is version 2 of their iPad Viewer to work with Apple iOS 5 and I reproduce the following from their Website with a slight edit marked ............. covering greater details of the product. Oh and by the way when you are reading this remember that in their Q4 2011 results announced in mid-October, Apple reported sales of another 11.2 million iPads, and 17.7 million iPhones, so some of these are in your enterprise for sure! It’s what they are being used for and how they are being used that should matter to any IT department.
RealVNC, the original developer of VNC technology, has announced a new version of its popular VNC Viewer application that provides remote control of Mac OS X, Windows, Linux or UNIX computers from an Apple iOS device. Available now from the App Store, VNC Viewer version 2 supports the recently released iOS 5 and ......... take full remote control of office and home computers.
With this latest version of VNC Viewer, any external monitor that is plugged into the iOS device will automatically display the remotely connected computer's desktop. And with iPhones or iPads running iOS 5 with Airplay Mirroring turned on, the computer's desktop will be automatically transferred to Apple TV. In both cases, the mobile device's screen acts as the keyboard and mouse. VNC Viewer for iOS enables users to provide remote IT support, access home computers whilst travelling and view Flash-based websites. To connect from VNC Viewer, VNC “Server”-compatible technology must be installed and running on the computer to be accessed. The recommended VNC Enterprise Edition provides robust, high-performance connections and unmatched flexibility along with strong security.
If you link this back to the topic of separating internally-oriented, client-server, data-centric IT inside the firewall with external links being made around the governance structure, then that is appropriate for this – ‘inside-out’ as we call it at Capgemini. This is in contrast to the increasing number of users with their own devices, such as iPads and iPhones, who want much wider access to Web-based services from Apple App Store, or other Web and cloud sources, and are frustrated by the IT department ‘locked down’ corporate PCs – which we call ‘outside-in’. To get a more complete brief on this see earlier CTO blogs. BUT the fact remains that I, and most of those iPad and smartphone users, want to work in both environments for different reasons and at different times.
Most of my day I am distinctly mobile, i.e. out of the office visiting clients, or industry technology vendors, even sometimes at industry events, but always relying on wireless connectivity of one sort or another, and usually interacting with others on social networks, reading technology news etc. In fact, other than email I don’t use any Capgemini services from inside the firewall, and in the case of email I get it as ‘push mail’. The very need to go through the necessary connection via a VPN and authentication to establish a link into enterprise IT within the firewall is too time-consuming and awkward, and that’s even before I consider carrying a notebook PC on the grounds of size and boot-up time. So it’s an iPad and Windows 7.5 smartphone for me and my distinctly externally-focused activities in the ‘outside-in’ environment.
However, at the beginning and end of the day when sitting in my hotel or at home then I will turn to my PC and move myself within the enterprise firewall and work in an ‘inside-out’ environment to deal with the ‘heavy lifting’ tasks which almost, without exception, need data in files. The first and biggest group of tasks will be those replies to emails that need a file from my PC to be attached to the reply and I have ‘parked’ during the day. Then there are a few items that I might need the next day and I will email the attachment to myself to make it accessible on my iPad, and finally there is some work that actually does involve using genuine enterprise applications. (By the way, I appreciate that if I had a more office-based role in say, Finance, this would not be the way I would work.)
At this point I expect you have made the connection to the RealVNC Viewer on iPad, and yup there is a great answer in that I could remotely tell my PC sat safely inside the enterprise firewall to open a file, mail an attachment, or whatever, without moving the data outside the safety of the firewall. Magic!! Well certainly worth a closer look anyway as I am not trying to endorse the product unseen!!! The point is that here is the kind of solution that answers the needs of both sides; the IT department is rightly concerned with the security and safety of corporate applications and data, and mobility workers are rightfully requiring a different working environment.
So it’s time to acknowledge the realities of the new ‘post-PC era’ as in fact a different working style and environment from the standard enterprise desktop environment – the ‘outside-in’ and ‘inside-out’ definitions – and start to use another popular term, ‘innovation’. There is a definite need to look at these changes as undeniable reality with the need to find new types of potential solutions, after all, another 11.2 million iPads plus some 1.2 million Android tablets will be in use next quarter so delaying tactics don’t look like much of a solution!