Multi-device-work: the new mobility frontier you must understand

Mobility is no longer just about having a phone or a tablet. It’s about multi-device work that allows work to transition smoothly across any device with a continuous user experience. Interestingly, both Apple and Samsung have recently recognized needs in this area. Apple has added “Continuity” and “Handoff”, whilst Samsung has significantly enhanced SideSync.

This can be great when the devices used exist in one of these integrated ecosystems.  In the workplace however, the technology used often comes from many different vendors because different people choose a broad range of devices. In these scenarios, working across devices becomes very difficult.

It doesn’t need to be this way, as these siloed ecosystems can be unified. This is the multi-device any-ness and why we built Crystal Palace.

Imagine you are on the train heading into the office. You pull out your smartphone, it’s a Galaxy S5, and begin scanning through your email messages. A couple of these messages are archived or replied to with the short response they deserve, but then there is this one message that requires a more detailed response. So you reach for your tablet, an iPad, and open its email app. It takes a frustrating amount of time to find it in your overflowing inbox. Ideally you would pick up your tablet and find that it is ready and waiting for you to keep working on.

This is an example of multi-device work; seamlessly using more than one device to complete a single task. In this scenario it was a smartphone in conjunction with a tablet.

In another scenario, imagine yourself now in the office.  You head into a meeting and on the screen is a presentation that is beamed wirelessly, using AllShare, from a colleague’s Samsung tablet to the Samsung display. You want to show a great website you found on the way into work from your iPad, but the optimum moment passes as you find the right adapter to connect to the large screen device and nobody sees your great idea.


These are but two of a myriad of situations where different devices can work well together provided they exist in the same vertically integrated ecosystem. If everything is Samsung, Apple or Microsoft, great; otherwise be prepared for frustration when you need to share between devices from different ecosystems.

Ideally you would move your work between the devices at any point that made sense to you. Imagine the devices as different members of an orchestra and you are the conductor directing them. This is the any-ness vision we have for multi-device work where different devices are connected via the cloud and made to work together; and this is Crystal Palace.

To do so requires three key things - a device registry, a universal mechanism for messaging between the devices and a cloud-based automation framework.

  • The device registry associates you with all of your devices. Some of these will be your personal devices, like your smartphone, tablet and laptop. Others will be shared devices you can access, like flat panel displays in a meeting room.  By knowing what devices you have access to, applications can deliver multi-device experiences.
  • A universal mechanism for messaging allows any application on any device to communicate with other applications and devices in real time. Think of this as a vendor independent push notification system that works across all of your devices, regardless of who makes them.
  • Tying this together is the cloud-based automation framework. It’s the piece that sequences the activity, so for you as the user, it’s simple and everything happens at the right time.

Crystal Palace is an application from Citrix that provides all of this for you. Out of the box we have Crystal Palace applications that run on iOS, Android, Mac and Windows. With the Crystal Palace app you can immediately start experiencing the benefits of multi-device work, moving websites, clipboard data and files instantly across your devices. It’s easy to get started and really simple to use. To see how easy it is to use, check out some of our videos.

We understand that your multi-device work goes beyond web and email so we have a full RESTful API for Crystal Palace. With the Crystal Palace API you can create productivity enhancing, multi-device scenarios in your very own apps.  It’s yet to be released to the public, but you can learn more about the API by contacting us.

At Citrix, any-ness is at the core of what we do and we see multi-device work as the new frontier in mobility and a new dimension of any-ness that allows you to make the most of your devices regardless of who made them. Our Crystal Palace app allows you to try this experience today so try it and please let us know what you think.