Citrix Touts the 'Everywhere Employee' Mobile Office Worker

Telecommuting is an established niche, even if it's never created the bigger displacement of workers from corporate headquarters to home or branch offices that some proponents thought. But a more significant shift has been the rise of mobile workers who may spend the majority of their work time in an office or other employer location, but also spend up to several days a week outside the office.

A vast majority of those responding to a worldwide survey Citrix conducted through its website said they spend at least one day of the week working outside the office. Fifty-two percent said they spend one to two days away from the office, while 15 percent said three to four and 12 percent said they typically spend all five days of the week out of the office.

One of the key enablers of this increased mobility is technology. A decade ago, mobile computing meant carrying a laptop, but today smartphones and the emerging new class of tablet devices are firmly in the mix. In the Citrix survey, 42 percent of respondents said they use three computing devices on a daily basis, while 34 percent said they use two.

"There's always been an outlier case for a certain small set of people being out of the office whether it was because of traffic or certain jobs like sales that require it. Now the average worker spends at least some time out of the office," Wes Wasson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Citrix, told InternetNews.com.

While there has traditionally been some level of distrust among management toward letting employees work outside the confines of the office, Wasson said those attitudes are softening. He also cites a Forrester Research report that said employees working outside the office work on average two-to-three hours more per week.

Citrix has been on what it calls the "everywhere employee" bandwagon for some time, with a range of products and services that facilitate working outside the office, from GoToMeeting for remote conferencing to the Citrix Receiver, a lightweight software client designed to let users access all their desktop files and enterprise applications from mobile devices.

"In 2011 we'll have a Receiver for every new device including HP's new TouchPad and the new Chrome OS tablets," Wasson said. "It's all virtual so IT doesn't have to support the device."

The Citrix Receiver is already available for a number of devices including the iPad, and that includes access to the Microsoft Windows 7 desktop. Citrix said there are over 100 million Citrix Receiver users worldwide.

While the HP TouchPad won't be out until this summer and it is primarily being marketed as a consumer device, Citrix said it will have a Receiver ready that will enhance the TouchPad's enterprise appeal.

"The immediate benefit for webOS consumers is that Citrix will make webOS devices enterprise-ready by securely delivering access to the existing ecosystem of Windows based apps," Benjamin Baer, Citrix senior director of marketing, said in a blog post.

Wasson said 2011 will also see significant expansion of Citrix's HDX technology, which is designed to provide a high-definition or more life-like experience using virtualization technologies, even in low bandwidth situations.

"You're going to stunning new HDX user experience," Wasson said. "We'll have big announcements on protocols and partnerships to make HDX part of the network fabric. We're at an early stage -- there's a great need for this kind of experience. It's a big differentiator for us."

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


mobile, virtualization, Citrix, TouchPad, Chrome OS notebooks