We all know that end users continue to expect more from their computing experience. Easy and effective communication and collaboration is definitely the top of the list for almost all users. They want to communicate and collaborate on their own terms. Just think about how many times we are all involved in collaboration everyday – IM, VoIP and online meetings during day, social media in the evening, and use of video as much as possible. Voice and video collaboration on the consumer front, example Skype or new Apple FaceTime, will further drive interest and adoption for users in the enterprise.

Desktop virtualization will help IT deliver next generation collaboration services

Traditional distributed desktop management is rapidly becoming the thing of the past. Those who are still on the sidelines for applying virtualization at the desktop (any or all of apps, users, and OS) need to be cautious that they are not missing the bigger computing trends regarding virtual workstyle, mobility and now collaboration. This is bigger than simplifying management (tactical and limited to IT) – it is more about strategic initiatives of user enablement while lowering costs and increasing security (strategic and significant for the business and your customers).

I believe that the best way for customers to adopt next generation collaboration is to deploy devices and systems that are designed and built for collaboration. Example – Cisco Cius and the newly announced thin clients for Cisco. And, the only practical way to get them adopted is with desktop virtualization – giving customers the benefits of desktop virtualization with integrated rich media and video collaboration.

Citrix and Cisco aligned with vision and execution

It is clear that Cisco is moving towards delivering a solution that enables users to be able to work and collaborate from anywhere. Citrix is uniquely aligned with Cisco in that vision. All the new Cisco devices will have Citrix Receiver and Citrix HDX technology ‘embedded’ in them for customer use. Put Cisco infrastructure in the data center, network and now end points together with Citrix desktop virtualization, Citrix XenDesktop – and customers get an end to end solution for virtual computing that has no compromises in user experience from anywhere. And with Citrix, customers don’t have to pick one type of virtual desktop model, such as VDI alone, for all their users – because that’s impractical and not scalable. With Citrix FlexCast integrations with Cisco infrastructure, including Cius and zero clients, customer get the flexibility to deliver the full range of desktop virtualization stacks specific to their users’ needs – ranging from a full corporate virtual desktop that runs on the users device for use when not connected to the network, to hosted virtual desktops that are either shared among many users to give you the best ROI or personalized by the user, if needed. Finally, Citrix HDX technology continues to deliver the best user experience along with the most optimal network performance including delivering rich multimedia over high latency and low bandwidth WAN connections.

Earlier this year, Cisco and Citrix partnered on the Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution for Citrix XenDesktop, which includes pre-configured templates for fast set up time, ease of deployment, and the ability to scale to hundreds of thousands of desktops in minutes. The solution came with a validated design for pretested interoperability, a single support number to call for service, and an open architecture for easy integration, giving customers scale to thousands or tens of thousands of virtual desktops. The addition of new Cisco devices into the solution, along with Citrix Receiver and HDX technology makes the solution even simpler and more powerful.

Collaboration and desktop virtualization built in to the new devices

But, what’s most interesting is that these devices are going to come with an unparalleled way of delivering a rich collaboration experience, something that every enterprise and business needs for their employees. And, the best way to deliver that collaboration will be with desktop virtualization.

That leads me to my prediction for 2011: Next generation mobility & collaboration will drive rapid adoption of desktop virtualization.

There are always supporters and challengers for predictions; I welcome your thoughts…