Citrix made a slew of announcements at its Synergy event in Berlin this week, but possibly the most interesting session was the "Crystal Ball" briefing hosted by Harry Labana, which looked at technologies currently under development in Citrix Labs.
I've already covered some of these in the news, such as the mobile device support that Citrix is working on providing through its Receiver client for smartphones and other devices like the iPad.
This included the "Nirvana phone" demonstration, where a smartphone was turned into an endpoint capable of displaying a full-screen virtual desktop session, thanks to Receiver and a smartphone with a video output port to drive a monitor.
Also impressive was Project GoldenGate, which uses XenApp and Receiver to deliver to a mobile device user a remote view of their email inbox hosted in the datacentre.
This might sound like an odd thing to do, but it means that all emails are kept in the datacentre rather than on the device for greater security, and you can switch devices at the drop of a hat. The application is also aware of which device you are using, and adapts the display accordingly, so that you see more on an iPad than on an iPhone, for example.
Citrix also demonstrated XenDesktop running with Microsoft's RemoteFX as the remote display protocol, support the company said it will add when RemoteFX is available in Windows.
In the demo, a XenDesktop session was shown with multiple windows open, one playing high-definition video while another was rendering and displaying an animated 3D scene in real-time.
Also demonstrated was an enterprise web conferencing setup for virtual desktops, using the combination of a HP thin client and a new Logitech webcam with built-in H.264 video encoding capability.
That demo showed how XenDesktop can make intelligent use of the available endpoint hardware, recognising that the camera can offload the encoding of the video stream.
A further XenDesktop demonstration showed experimental support that would allow users to run applications installed on the endpoint device alongside those available in their virtual desktop.
For example, if a laptop user did not have Excel in their XenDesktop session, but it was installed on the laptop, they could edit a document using the local Excel. If this becomes part of the shipping product, it could also users to do things like burn a DVD from XenDesktop, using the locally installed application.
Another interesting area Citrix is looking at is how customers can ensure security when companies have temporary workers or staff connecting their own device up to the network.
Kurt Roemer, chief security strategist discussed the concept of dynamic session-based security, where users are only granted access if they agree to security restrictions being enforced at login.
The login system also identified the client system, and in the demo was able to apply relevant policies such as disabling the camera, preventing screen captures, and denying access to "jailbroken" devices where the operating system has been hacked.
A video of the entire "Crystal Ball" presentation is available online here.
Citrix also made some interesting announcements about its cloud stack, which will be covered in greater detail on the main V3.co.uk site in a later article.
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