ACE Consortium Prepping Standards for Better Enterprise Apps
A new consortium of top technology companies is hoping to help enterprises build a new generation of business-friendly apps for smartphone devices. The group, which is calling itself App Configuration for Enterprise, or ACE, plans to develop a new open standard approach for managing and securing apps deployed in a mobile enterprise environment.
Among other challenges, ACE is looking to tackle common security and usability issues that have arisen for organizations deploying apps for their workforces. The organization, which consists of AirWatch, Cisco, Box, Workday, and Xamarin made the announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Standardized App Configurations
ACE’s goal is to develop a set of standardized app configurations that will work with all enterprise mobility management solutions. The consortium said it plans to work with the APIs available for the most popular mobile operating system platforms, such as Apple's iOS and Google's Android. The group will also look to provide a framework that requires minimal effort for both app developers and EMM (enterprise mobility management) platforms to integrate, while also maintaining usability for the end user.
To achieve that goal, ACE said it plans to automate first-time app set ups, secure app connectivity to corporate networks with per-app tunnels, and provide organizations with the ability to remotely wipe corporate data from lost or stolen devices. The ACE framework also avoids using separate user logins for multiple apps, consolidating multiple login processes into a single sign-on.
ACE is hoping to entice developers with the promise of a significant reduction in the cost and time required to build enterprise-ready applications. To that end, ACE does not include a proprietary SDK or app wrapping, it consists of vendor neutral applications, and provides a single app build for enterprises. Additionally, certain security settings won't require additional coding on the part of the developer.
An Industry-Wide Solution
“Enterprise-ready app development has traditionally been fragmented, and ACE is the first industry-wide solution that can alleviate this problem regardless of application or EMM provider,” said Eric Klein, senior mobility analyst, VDC Research. “Applications are what make mobility programs successful, and ACE is a strong step forward in enabling even more organizations with the updated, enterprise-ready apps they need regardless of their deployment structure.”
Atlanta-based AirWatch was acquired by VMware last February. In addition to leading the ACE consortium, the enterprise mobility management provider also recently announced that it would be working with Google to enhance the security of enterprise applications developed for the Android platform.
“ACE enables us to work with the leading brands in mobile to deliver better experiences for our customers,” said John Marshall, senior vice president and general manager, AirWatch by VMware. “With ACE, organizations benefit from seamless and secure application delivery to their workforce and end users benefit from a more initiative business app experience.”
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