Socialcast- my experience

I bet not many people have heard about Socialcast and I also believe not many people know Socialcast has been aquired by VMware in March 2011.

What is Socialcast?

Socialcast is a leading provider of social collaboration solutions for the enterprise. Socialcast enables modern business communication by uniting people, information and enterprise applications within collaborative communities. Delivered as a hosted service, private cloud implementation, or via an on-premise solution

Okay, that’s the official statement from the press release. To me, it is a platform for employees within an organization which will increase collaboration, sharing of ideas, knowledge and even unite people. I have heard people say it is Twitter or Facebook for the enterprise. Well… yes to an extend that is true.

I don’t want to compare Twitter/Facebook to Socialcast but I just want to share my enthousiasm! I’m addicted to Socialcast! In this case, it isn’t a bad thing to be addicted. But why am I addicted?

Well, first of all I can access Socialcast (I should say our implementation of Socialcast) from any of my devices; there are mobile apps for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone and also applications for Mac and Windows. Of course you can access Socialcast with a browser!

In our case, I don’t know if we host Socialcast from a public cloud as a hosted solution or if it is an on-premise implementation (which is a virtual appliance). From a user perspective it doesn’t really matter, right?!

Socialcast is integrated with Active Directory. When I logged on the first time, my profile was filled in with my basic details; my job role, telephone number, my manager etc. I could add more personal details like my Messenger ID, website URL, hobbies etc. Cool, I was setup on the system and good to go!

I started searching for Groups and straight away I found many groups of my interest. I joined them and I started to see messages from those groups on my Home page. So I didn’t have to look for them, they were there in my Home screen. I started to follow people as well. Everything they would post would come up in my Home screen.

I also noticed I could setup my own group. How sweet is that! I am running a demo environment from VMware employees in EMEA, so why not setup a group and post messages and documents there in stead of sending emails. I invited the users of the demo environment and started posting messages about new features, updates etc there.

So, I saw a mixture of groups come to life; work related obviously but also more personal groups. I joined a photography group and can share pictures, ideas, best spots, news about cameras etc. Yes it does unite people. Who would have thought that?!

With our Socialcast, I also noticed information was easier to get, came to me quicker, was shared easier and sooner. For example, unfortunately sometimes it takes a while for someone to answer an email. Post something and the response is there! That quick! For sure people respond quicker than via email.

I believe it made a gap between different groups smaller. People would ask for feedback, or give feedback about products. I saw different groups starting to work together, share information. Seeing that kind of collaboration happening is great!

So, now after a day of work I check my Socialcast, browsing groups, following people, answering questions from others, posting questions, uploading pictures and hitting F5 a lot (yes it will refresh automatically but I’m impatient). I like this kind of networking, socializing, collaborating. I truly like Socialcast.

Horizon Mobile- basics

It’s been a while since VMware announced it is working on developing a virtual platform for mobile devices. At that time this platform was called “Mobile Virtualization Platform” or MVP. This mobile hypervisor technology became VMwares after the aquisition of Trango. During VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas, MVP was rebranded to Horizon Mobile.

So, what is Horizon Mobile? Why would you want it?

More and more, employees want to use their own smart phones at work, in the corporate environment. They don’t want to carry around with their private phone and their corporate phone. “Bring Your Own” is getting popular more and more. I believe this is a good thing; let user work with a device they know, like and are used to. This is a challenge for IT; Personal documents/email, corporate documents/email, access to personal and corporate resources, all contacts are melting together on that personal device. Also, how to support all these different devices, secure the corporate resources and manage those devices? Corporate IT can’t really touch and control those devices.

With Horizon Mobile IT departments can push a encapsulated corporate environment onto a personal mobile phone. This environment is a Virtual machine, a vPhone. IT can provide corporate applications like email, readers etc inside this VM so users have all the resources to do their jobs. Also, setting and policies can be applied to that VM, like the use of a PIN or password, encryption, update frequency etc. Of course IT can only monitor, control and update this VM and not the personal phone of a user.

With Horizon Mobile it also is possible to have a personal phone number and a corporate phone number on 1 device. Of course you can have your personal number. it is your phone, your SIM card so people can call you. With Mobile, you also can have a corporate virtual SIM and phone number so your colleagues and customers can call you on that number. This way you completely separate personal and corporate.

One of the first partners VMware announced was LG. Later on, also Samsung was announced as a partner. With these partners, it should be very easy to deploy Horizon Mobile on their Android based mobile phones. Telefonica in Europe and Verizon Wireless in the US will be the first carries who will support Horizon Mobile.

Currently there is a beta running in the US. Stay tuned for more information about beta’s and availability in Europe.