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Walkthrough Wednesdays

Desktop Virtualization and Cloud: Fueling a New Collaborative Workspace and Creating a New User Experience


Have you stopped to think about how much your desktop has evolved over the past 5 years? Many elements from it have evolved, some have disappeared, and others are still there as they were before. But why haven’t they all changed at the same pace? To me, the answer is in the quality of the experience those elements provide, and the possibility to have your full desktop environment on whatever device you choose.

Take, for example, the personal computer. For many of us, that device became mobile years ago without sacrificing much performance but adding a lot of convenience and new capabilities. Many of us use a smartphone and the availability of new touch-screen computing devices, such as tablets, have considerably changed the way many people interact with applications and information.

But it does not seem to me that we are looking at the “convergence” of those devices into one “universal device” that will replace all those three and deliver the features, capabilities, and convenience we enjoy from all three form factors. Why?

From the user experience perspective, the mobile revolution helped us to be “free” from fixed office locations but it did not provide ease of use, flexibility and capabilities for all the use case scenarios that traditional desktop accessories offer. Most users (me included) would struggle to write a long document in a smartphone, create a slide show in a tablet, or work with a complex spreadsheet in a laptop without the help of an external pointing device, a regular size keyboard, and/or a larger monitor. We can see the proliferation of these accessories even in the mobile computing era. Bluetooth keyboards/cases for your tablet; docking stations, keyboards, HD cameras, and wireless mice for your PC; and gadgets for your smartphone that offer wireless and wired options to be able to share and create content with external devices.

And from the desktop virtualization and cloud perspective, there is a new computing model that provides the other “freedom” that the mobile devices can’t deliver on their own: freedom from the application, user environment, and locally resident data that these devices still depend on. In a virtual cloud-based environment your “desktop” does not reside on any of these devices, and because of that the user can rely on the same applications they are already familiar with. The users do not need to install a new app for every device they own. They do not have to depend on data stored in one of the devices. Their preferences, configuration, and general user environment are populated to any device as long as the user is connected to their cloud-based, virtualized desktop. Desktop virtualization and cloud are fueling a new workspace —  more collaborative, intuitive and powerful —  that is less dependent on the device and more empowered by  the network.

Bringing these two perspectives together, users find that the new “desktop” is really a combination of old and new elements. They like the mobility of new devices, but most users are not willing to sacrifice the quality of experience and convenience of desktop accessories. Cloud computing and a virtual desktop environment can offer the freedom to use the best device for the task based on the location of the user, the device at hand, and the features and capabilities required by the user.

Learn how Cisco is continuing to evolve the virtual desktop into a virtual workspace with new software-enabled collaboration experiences that will be revealed on January 17. Register now for our announcement webcast with live Q&A, and be among the first to hear the exciting news.

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