Luxembourg is right in the heart of Europe
Every Morning, thousands of people cross the borders from Germany, France and Belgium to get to work by car, by bus or by train. And also every morning and every evening, the same scenario of being stuck in traffic; it easily sums up to 10 hours per work week for a lot of people to get to and from work. What a colossal waste of time, energy and resources.
Since technology is changing rapidly, should work or yet better, the way we work not change too? A lot of jobs are based on the output of the employee or “to get the job done”. But if that is the case, why exactly are a lot of us monitored and paid by the hours we sit at our desks? Virtual presence or remote offices at home are not very popular in Luxembourg (not to mention the tax issues).
The problem is that this culture has not yet arrived in the minds of the companies. Rules and regulations are put in place to control the employees and although studies suggest otherwise, most companies fear that remote work would lead to laziness on the employee’s side.
The Millennials are entering the work force in the coming years and their idea of an ideal work/life balance is quite different from the definition of their parents’ generation. Big enterprises in Luxembourg try to offer an excellent social package to get the best employees on the market. A change in the direction of home or remote office will be at some point inevitable.
Even if a company would like to change, one problem today remains, the lack of social technology that would enable such a scenario and would support the collaboration in a virtual setting. Samsung is not the first one to try to engage in that field but the Samsung Galaxy S8 in combination with the desktop experience DeX offers a compelling argument, especially used with some practical features already existing today.
The smartphone side, nothing new
The S8 is first and foremost a high end smartphone based on Android Operating System. It suits all the private needs of the employee. Together with an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) tool such as MobileIron, the employee can bring his own device and choose if and when he has access to his company email, contacts, calendar, documents and applications. The company’s information is safe due to the containerization, a solution that creates an encrypted data store to hold business content on a device. EMM features are scalable and offer a complete solution ideal for Start-ups as well as Big Multinational companies.
This technology of combining a smartphone with an EMM solution by itself is not new and exists in some form since the launch of BlackBerry in 1999.
Samsung DeX and Citrix, a new approach
The Samsung DeX looks like a simple desk stand for the S8. It connects to a monitor (HDMI), to a network cable and via USB to a mouse and a keyboard. As soon as the phone gets plugged in, the screen on the phone gets dark and “Samsung DeX” appears on the monitor. What follows is a real (!) desktop screen. The resolution is supports Full HD and 4K.
Although still Android, it looks and feels a bit like a Windows environment. Some apps do not support DeX and some apps can’t be opened in full screen mode (yet). But the Browser and Microsoft Office (Excel, Word) can be used like on a normal PC or laptop. Most people need nothing more for their private usage on their home PC or laptop.
Although it works for a private approach, the DeX/S8 combo cannot be used for a professional or enterprise environment as such. The EMM apps are working too, but that is not enough for a long-term use.
Citrix offers with XenApp or XenDesktop a simple possibility to virtualise a workstation (VDI) on every PC or Mac as well as Android and thus for any DeX/S8 combo. This solution gives access secured with multifactor authentication (e.g. password, PIN or securID token) to a full Windows Desktop environment (with all the applications needed to be productive, file server access, company printing, etc.). As Citrix mentioned on their blog, the solution not only runs lightweight, rudimentary apps that allow the employee to “get by” during an unplanned work-from-home day but also resource-intensive, graphically rich, enterprise-grade programs.
Microsoft themselves tried a similar approach with the “Microsoft Display Dock” on basis of the Microsoft smartphone Lumia 950 series. The problem was that smartphones from Microsoft are not popular in Luxembourg and apparently nowhere else either since a few months later, Microsoft changed the strategy and stopped the production of the devices.
The Samsung Galaxy S series on the other hand is, apart from the iPhone, the most sold smartphone for professional customers in Luxembourg. So people actually want to have the Samsung Galaxy S8 in their pocket.
The cost for investment and maintenance are significantly lower and since it’s a managed environment for both EMM and Citrix, the security levels would be as good as on a managed PC. This argument alone could make the case for any Start-up, SoHo or SMB company.
This is Samsung’s first try and it is pretty impressive in combination with EMM and Citrix. It can only become a success in Luxembourg and elsewhere if companies change their mindset regarding the way we work. Some barriers were already taken down such as the end of roaming in Europe as we know it this June and perhaps now, all it takes is a new generation of digital natives that embrace the fact that a bee is also not measured by the hours of flight but the nectar it collects.