It is over two years since VMware first demonstrated its Mobile Virtualisation Platform (MVP) at VMworld in Cannes, but little else was heard about the project until recently, when the company announced a strategic relationship with LG to build the technology into its smartphone handsets.
The promise of MVP is that it will enable users to have one phone with separate personal and work environments, potentially allowing employees to choose the handset they want while their company IT department can keep control over any data in the corporate environment.
Chris Young, vice president of end user computing at VMware, said that the advantage of MVP is that it eliminates the need to carry a phone and a separate enterprise device at the same time.
"What we'll do with MVP and LG is effectively pre-package a client-side hypervisor on the phone that is Android-based, and this will allow the enterprise to maintain a secure corporate environment on a personal device," he said.
The way VMware expects it to eventually work is that employees will be able to buy the smartphone of their choice, and take it to their IT department, which will provision an enterprise image that runs on the device as a second, virtual handset, accessed via an icon as if it were just another application.
"Through the management software we will deliver around MVP, the IT department will be able to deploy an image, put on it a company phone number, company email, and so on, and [the management software] will have all the characteristics of mobile device management, such as device wipe and provisioning of users," Young explained.
If the employee then leaves the company, they can keep their personal phone and the enterprise can wipe the image without affecting the user's personal device.
The virtual corporate phone will have a separate number from the user's physical personal device, which should allow for separate billing in addition to keeping company applications and data in a separate environment.
"It allows the enterprise to get some control over the user workspace, and the telephony providers will like it because they can sell two plans," joked Young.
However, he added that VMware and LG are still at the early trial phase with this technology, and it is not likely to come to market this year.
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