VMware on Monday announced a slew of updates to its digital workspace platform, Workspace One, including a new AI-powered virtual assistant and other "concierge services" designed to offer broad support across devices and platforms.
The updates were announced at the VMworld conference in San Francisco. In addition to the concierge services, VMware announced expanded endpoint management services, new multi-cloud support and a comprehensive approach to zero-trust security.
The concierge services start with an Intelligent Hub Virtual Assistant, powered in partnership with IBM Watson. The AI assistant uses natural language processing to support both voice and text queries. It can provide user guidance on various questions, and it can help users access applications -- it could, for instance, open a Jira ticket for a user.
The concierge services also include Intelligent Hub Self-Service, which is a context-aware tool that integrates with existing lifecycle, configuration and management tools. There's also a Digital Employee Experience Management tool that provides predictive and proactive remediation. This includes the ability to dial back and see how applications were performing historically, in order to troubleshoot problems after incidents.
Concierge services also include Workspace One Assist, which allows you to view and control corporate and personal devices, if users opt into it. This helps with quick troubleshooting, especially when it comes to accessing mobile devices and conducting remote diagnostics.
Next, VMware is introducing broader endpoint management across the OEM ecosystem. Specifically, they're adding support for iOS 13 BYOD (bring your own device) enrollment. In other Apple-related updates, VMware is adding MacOS encryption and lifecycle management capabilities. The endpoint management updates also include the ability to lock down Chrome OS devices, as well as Dell BIOS verification and remediation.
"Our strategy is to stay at a place where we can do continuous verification of the security of endpoint devices," VMware CTO Chris Wolf explained to ZDNet. If there's security drift or configuration drift, he said, "we can immediately, in an automated fashion, dial back user access to particular apps or send them an alert that their device is no longer compliant."
Lastly, the Workspace One updates include multi-cloud virtual desktop infrastructure and application support. There's a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) control plane, called Horizon Services, that provides access to virtual desktops across a variety of clouds, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and on-premise environments.
Horizon Services can determine from which environment a user should access their desktop. For instance, if an employee is in the office, they should access it from a local data center, but if they're working remotely, accessing it out of the public cloud may make more sense.