Over the past year, Citrix has been showing customers our vision for a world beyond virtual apps and desktops, as we help organizations on their digital transformation journey. We have shown previews of how we build smart collaboration spaces and how we help our customers secure their digital perimeters. From the outset, our goal has been to simplify and fuel the digital transformation by removing technological barriers between the digital and physical realms.

To bring this vision to life, we cannot rely on software alone. We created the Citrix Ready workspace hub Program with the goal of creating new ways to get work done. The Citrix Ready workspace hub simplifies how individuals carry out their day-to-day tasks, so they can be more productive and effective in their jobs.

In partnership with Citrix Ready partners NComputing and ViewSonic, we leveraged the Raspberry Pi—the best hardware platform for our purposes (low cost, readily available, and powerful) and, with it, built a new kind of device: The Citrix Ready workspace hub.

As Richard Sah, CTO of NComputing, explains: “We are very excited to extend our existing partnership with Citrix to bring innovation to our customers. The Citrix Ready workspace hub solution powered by NComputing’s RX-HDX thin client further expands the functionality of the device to include many value-added features demanded by enterprise customers such dual display support, RTME integration and Citrix Casting. This aligns with our mission to provide affordable and powerful thin client solutions for our customers.”

“With the Citrix workspace hub update to the SC-T25, ViewSonic is able build upon its high performing thin client solution to deliver a new level of versatility for businesses and enterprises,” said Erik Willey, product marketing director at ViewSonic. “Our relationship with Citrix ensures that ViewSonic can easily build upon the success of the SC-T25 and transform it by adding a wide variety of new uses in different market segments to create seamless working environments.”

Improving the user’s work experience

Since computers became the norm in the enterprise, accessing corporate resources has not changed all that much. As you look at the ways users interact with technology, it’s clear there are inefficiencies. One of the most glaring issues we have seen is people having to log in to numerous workstations throughout the day. This can be both tiresome and time-consuming,  especially for the type of worker who is constantly on the move. For example, doctors who see multiple patients as they make their rounds may need to log into multiple workstations. While logging into their desktop may not take much time, doing it multiple times a day adds up and the process is often not seamless. How do you improve the process for them and employees of other industries looking for a seamless experience? By using the technology we carry with us everywhere: Our smartphones.

Citrix Casting

Our phones have become an inextricable part of our daily lives. These devices hold enormous amounts of information, from who we are and where we go, to our financial records, and even our companies’ intellectual property. As such, they have improved and made more secure they ways they handle authentication (i.e., facial recognition, fingerprint scanners, pattern recognition, etc.).

Add in the work Citrix has been doing with Citrix Analytics and now it’s possible to detect threats, such as unusual login access or blacklisted apps and lock or even wipe a device automatically. As users walk around in the course of their daily lives, the phones in their pockets have already authenticated them. We explored how to leverage mobile devices and that authentication information to improve the log-on experience for users accessing corporate resources. The result? Citrix Casting.

Citrix Casting makes it possible for users to securely and seamlessly move virtual app and desktop sessions from a mobile device to a Citrix Ready workspace hub. Citrix Casting has numerous technologies that can be used differently for a variety of applications:

Session Roaming via Citrix Casting enables your phone to authenticate to a Citrix Ready workspace hub in numerous ways. One cool way this happens is by using the beacon inside the workspace hub to detect the proximity of the user and securely initiate the login. Another way to trigger login is to scan a QR code from the workspace hub to launch a user’s session. These use cases ultimately accomplish the same task of securely roaming the user session to the workspace hub. This is a huge time saver and improves user experience. 

Wireless Docking allows a user to interact with their phone and cast any desktop/app session to any workspace hub around them. If you are familiar with Chromecast, this shouldn’t be a new concept. However, with Citrix Casting, users are not just sending audio/video to some device. Instead a user is sharing their session to a secure device that has a keyboard, mouse, printer, speakerphone, etc. attached to it. This creates a new way of working and no longer ties users down to an office.

In the video below, Chris Fleck, VP of Emerging Solutions, showcases Citrix Casting and the value it can provide to healthcare professionals.

Desk Phone Replacement

You know that super-expensive phone on your office desk? What if you could not only get rid of that, but also make it follow you as you move between workstations? Yes, that is a possibility and one of the other cutting-edge features brought to life by the Citrix Ready workspace hub. To do this, we’ve ported Skype for Business RTME (Real Time Media Engine) to the Citrix Ready workspace hub. This means that wherever you go, your Skype for Business follows you, and the experience no different than if you were talking on a native device.

Dual Monitor

Citrix is constantly working with and listening to our customers. As a result, we are introducing dual monitor capabilities. Now, users can add dual monitors with full HD on a hardware platform that only supports one HDMI port.

Management

No solution for any business is complete without a way for IT to easily manage the device. With the Citrix XenMobile Service, no deployment is necessary to start managing devices. Also, by utilizing XenMobile, your product will remain updated, always using the latest features and keeping up with any security patches (as needed) creating a near zero management experience.

With XenMobile Unified Endpoint Management, one platform can manage an entire device program including iOS, Android, macOS, Win10, workspace hub and other device types.

Alternatively, the workspace hub can be managed using a small virtual appliance.

How is all of this possible?

We have enabled the hardware to go beyond delivering a desktop experience. This is partially because the workspace hub is more than an end-point device; it is also acting as an IoT hub. The real power of the workspace hub is its ability to interact with the real world and other technologies through IoT.

In future versions of the hub, we will continue to work with our partners in the Citrix Ready workspace hub Program to simplify our users’ everyday lives through automating tasks, ranging from simplifying the way a meeting is initiated to intelligently directing someone to an available work area.

How do I get one?

The Citrix Ready workspace hub is available now, and the advanced features will be available as a technical preview on March 31, 2018. [Update May 8th, 2018: The Citrix Ready workspace hub advanced features are available now!]. You can work with our Citrix Ready partners, NComputing or ViewSonic or your local trusted reseller or Citrix representative.

As you see, Citrix is relentless in its pursuit of ways to improve and create new ways to get work done. The Citrix Ready workspace hub is just laying the foundation. Stay tuned for more innovative features we are working on to help organizations empower their workforce to be more productive and efficient.