VMware and APX Labs are partnering on a new solution that could make smart glasses more enterprise-friendly, the pair announced on Tuesday at AirWatch Connect in Atlanta. The new, integrated solution improves management and support of smart glasses for professional users.

The solution combines APX Labs’ Skylight platform with VMware’s AirWatch enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform in order to allow IT administrators to manage smart glasses, ensure compliance with security policies, and configure user-specific variables using a single device management console. VMware is also collaborating with Atheer, Intel, ODG and VUZIZ Corp. to deliver wearable management and app delivery solutions at scale.

“This will reduce the burden of IT admins not needing to touch every single device to make sure everything is configured right,” said Jay Kim, CSO of APX Labs.

SEE: AirWatch Connect: VMware boosts unified endpoint management, BYOD security with new features (TechRepublic)

Smart glasses and augmented reality are a growing component of the enterprise. Earlier this year, a Tech Pro Research report, Virtual and Augmented Reality in the Enterprise: Cost factors, benefits, future plans, revealed that 67% of companies not already using AR are considering it at their organization, and another 39% of companies are already using it. This shows a strong interest in AR, and integrated solutions that save money could help further drive adoption, since cost was deemed as a critical factor by 92% of respondents in the report.

The new device management solution from VMware and APX Labs includes:

  • Simplified workflows in initial deployments and post-deployment management of smart glasses.
  • Significantly reduced overhead for managing end-to-end configurations on smart glasses.
  • Streamlined on-boarding experiences, network setup and application deployment.
  • Minimized enterprise security risk of deploying smart glasses through management, provisioning, blacklisting, and end-to-end data protection.

“Previously, companies have had to manage smart glasses nearly one pair at a time. That worked when there were only a handful of smart glasses in use, but is simply not sustainable once an organization is ready to deploy hundreds and thousands of pairs of smart glasses across their hands-on workforce,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC’s wearables team, in a press release. “Enabling IT administrators to more easily manage and secure these devices at scale and in a way that administrators already manage other smart connected devices is incredibly important. This capability and partnership is a natural extension to enterprise mobility, and is a real win for customers.”

The enterprise will be able to more quickly adopt wearables as a result of this new solution, Kim said, explaining that it will drive additional deployments and additional scale because it will make wearables easier and more cost efficient to deploy and manage.

“It’s a huge milestone moment for APX because this was a capability we’d been working with our customers’ IT departments to bring to life. It’s been challenging to scale our deployments without this in place,” Kim said.

Brian Ballard, CEO of APX Labs, said in a press release: “The integration with VMware AirWatch is also significant for our Skylight platform as it helps in ‘future-proofing’ our clients’ investment in smart glasses. The AR smart glasses hardware landscape is growing and is quite dynamic. So, as companies gain more experience with these new types of devices and deploy them at scale, it will be handled from the same enterprise mobility management platform, providing a significant advantage in reduction of overall IT overhead, time and total cost of ownership.”

Three takeaways for TechRepublic readers:

  1. VMware and APX Labs have partnered to create a fully integrated enterprise solution for managing deployment and support for smart glasses.
  2. The new solution could accelerate the adoption of smart glasses in the enterprise because it makes the devices easier and more cost efficient to manage.
  3. A Tech Pro Research report showed that 67% of companies not already using AR are considering it in the future, which could set the stage for growing smart glasses adoption.

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