AirWatch Brings EMM to Enterprise Smart Glasses

In addition to desktops, tablets and smartphones, VMware's AirWatch is extending its reach to smart glasses and augmented-reality headsets powered by Android.


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AirWatch, VMware's enterprise mobility management (EMM) unit, is branching out into enterprise wearables, specifically smart glasses.

This week during the AirWatch Connect conference in Atlanta, the company announced it was adding Android smart glass support to its EMM platform later this quarter. The company is collaborating with top wearable device makers, including APX Labs, Atheer, Intel, ODG and VUZIX Corp.

"Assessing the market, VMware AirWatch was a clear leader in EMM, and leveraging its robust smart glasses management capabilities we can offer an efficient wearable-computing solution that works out of the box and makes work easier and safer," said Ryan Fink, vice president of Business Development at Atheer in a statement.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Atheer is the maker of Android-compatible augmented-reality (AR) headsets for businesses. The company also offers a collaboration and management toolset called AiR Suite, that enables organizations to tailor their AR-assisted processes and workflows to their business. "This close collaboration brings device management capabilities to Atheer's Glasses and award winning AiR Suite platform to facilitate collaboration, management, rapid task flow creation and deployment to deskless professionals in the industrial space," continued Fink.

According to VMware, the update will allow customers to streamline network setup, application deployment and onboarding tasks required of administrators when they introduce smart glasses into their environments. Similar to its existing BYOD onboarding capabilities, the company claims it takes just a few clicks to manage and secure AR wearables.

Bringing wearables into the EMM fold may be a prudent move for AirWatch. According to IDC, the market for virtual and augmented reality technology solutions will skyrocket over the next few years.

The analyst firm predicts that AR and VR (virtual reality) companies will rake in more than $162 billion by the end of 2020, compared to $5.2 billion this year. Between 2015 and 2020, the market is poised to expand at a scorching compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 181.3 percent.

And consumers seeking to get whisked away into virtual experiences won't be the only takers. "Recent developments in healthcare demonstrated the powerful impact augmented reality headsets can have at the industry level, and over the next five years we expect to see that promise become realized in other fields like education, logistics, and manufacturing," asserted Chris Chute, vice president of IDC Customer Insights and Analysis, in a statement.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Tags: VMware, AirWatch, smart glasses, wearables

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