Apple device management specialist JAMF Software recently announced the release of Casper Suite 9.9, a version that boasts compatibility with iOS 9.3 in addition to new functionality that enhances the ability of organizations to manage large fleets of Apple devices. Casper Suite 9.9 empowers organizations to disable, locate and recover lost or stolen devices. In addition, this release allows organizations to deliver a unified home screen for all users within an organization that standardizes the user experience by customizing which apps are available to users upon log-on. While Casper Suite 9.9 has the ability to standardize device experiences, it also allows organizations to personalize devices to ensure that users receive apps that are appropriate for their functional role and interests. In the case of students, for example, schools and educators can use Casper Suite 9.9 to customize the delivery of apps that correspond to the aptitude and academic interests of students. Candace Salmon-Hosey, Executive Director of Technology and CTE Services, Rowan-Salisbury School System, remarked on the value of JAMF software as follows:
Rowan-Salisbury School System depends on JAMF Software to provide critical, same-day support for iOS releases that impact our district’s 30,000 devices. This is one of the many reasons we partner with JAMF. JAMF’s same-day support, ubiquitous ecosystem, and architecture offers us peace of mind that our teaching and learning environment will not be disrupted when a new iOS version is released.
Here, Salmon-Hosey remarks on JAMF Software’s ability to deliver “same-day support for iOS releases” such as iOS 9.3 on a scale of 30,000 devices. The screenshot below illustrates the management functionality of JAMF’s Casper Suite platform that streamlines and simplifies the management of Apple devices within an organization, at scale:
The graphic illustrates Casper Suite’s ability to allow organizations to create mobile device groups that subsequently facilitate device standardization or personalization, as required by the customer. In addition, the screenshot shows the ease with which organizations can use the platform to locate and recover lost or stolen devices. With its enhanced support for device standardization, personalized learning, ability to locate and disable lost or stolen devices, in addition to its support for iOS 9.3, JAMF continues to consolidate its leadership position in the Apple device management space. Expect JAMF’s positioning within the Apple Device Management to grow stronger as Apple devices become increasingly pervasive within K-12 education and subsequently stand to benefit from JAMF Software’s capability to deliver standardized, yet customized curricula that give teachers enhanced control over the pedagogical experience.
Unconfirmed reports claim that the Google Cloud Platform has scored Apple as another high profile customer, hot on the heels of its recent success in inking a deal with Spotify as the preferred cloud infrastructure for the popular streaming music service. Sources allege that Apple’s partnership with the Google Cloud Platform allow it to reduce its dependency on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, thereby enabling it to diversify its cloud-based vendor dependencies. Apple and Google have declined to comment. If true, the deal between Apple and the Google Cloud Platform throws into question the purpose of Apple’s massive build of its own datacenters, many of which were believed to be intended to house Apple’s forthcoming, proprietary cloud-based infrastructure. Regardless, the swirl of speculation positioning Apple as a potential customer of the Google Cloud Platform stands to reputationally benefit Google, which now appears poised to follow-through on its promise to aggressively court the enterprise with former VMware CEO Diane Greene at the helm of Google’s cloud business.
Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak opines that Apple may be preparing to decrease its dependence on Amazon Web Services by building new data centers that increase its data center capacity. Citing analyst Katy Huberty, Nowak claims that Apple plans to build approximately 2.5 million in square feet of additional data center capacity, a whopping data center footage area given that the square footage of Amazon Web Services data centers totals 6.7 million square feet. Meanwhile, Oppenheimer analyst Tim Horan argues that Apple is gearing up to launch its own Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) product offering. Horan notes that Apple has already built its own content delivery network to reduce its dependency on Akamai and that an IaaS product offering potentially offers a gateway for Apple to gain a foothold in the enterprise hardware space. Much of the speculation about Apple’s interest in expanding its own cloud computing, IaaS capabilities relates to Apple’s most recent quarterly earnings report, which features a 30% capex year over year increase for 2016 and commentary from Apple CFO Luca Maestri about the importance of new data centers in this year’s operating plans. Regardless of whether Apple chooses to launch its own IaaS offering or decide instead to expand its internal ability to deploy cloud computing for its corporate products and services, the company stands to gain by reducing its roughly $1 billion annual spend on Amazon Web Services. Apple has the cash and the talent to build out its cloud computing capabilities but it remains to be seen what results from the company’s investment in data centers around the world.
Apple has purchased Emotient, a San Diego-based startup that uses artificial-intelligence technology to read people’s emotions. Emotient analyzes facial expressions to understand emotions by using artificial intelligence-based algorithms that identify moods and feelings. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the software is used by marketers to identify the emotions of consumers and to read signs of pain amongst patients that cannot freely express their emotions. Emotient leverages deep learning technology that draws upon neural networks to map facial expressions to emotions. The acquisition represents Apple’s latest foray into the hot space of facial recognition technology. Apple’s acquisition of Emotient builds upon its October acquisition of VocalIQ, a Cambridge, England-based artificial intelligence startup dedicated to speech recognition. Terms of the acquisition of Emotient were not disclosed.
JAMF Holdings, parent company of JAMF Software, today announced the finalization of a $30M capital raise led by Summit Partners. JAMF Software will use the funding to continue development of Casper Suite, one of the only platforms built exclusively for enterprise management of Apple products. The recent funding raise will also be used to expand sales operations, develop strategic partnerships and expand JAMF’s customer service team. As a result of the investment, Greg Goldfarb of Summit Partners will join the JAMF board of directors. JAMF’s funding raise comes head on the heels of Apple’s increasing penetration into the enterprise, a phenomenon that was largely spearheaded by the iPhone in ways that led to the adoption of other Mac products such as the iPad and Macbook Pro, accordingly to JAMF Software CEO Chip Pearson in an interview with Cloud Computing Today.
Whereas Apple products once used to be confined largely to creative agencies and marketing organizations, Pearson noted the increasing traction of Casper Suite within the financial services industry, government agencies and the education space. That Apple has gained significant inroads in the education space is evinced by the recent success of New York-based Amplify, a tech startup that proposes to revolutionize K-12 education delivery by providing each child with an iPad loaded with innovative curricula. Because of the increasingly prevalent usage of Apple products within large organizations, Casper Suite is well positioned to consolidate market share in the Apple enterprise device management space, particularly given its extensive experience with the Apple platform. JAMF’s previous capital raise was slightly less than $3M, so today’s funding announcement should open the door for rapid quarterly growth in the year to come.
Apple has acquired WifiSLAM, a Silicon Valley-based startup that specializes in indoor GPS technology, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple has confirmed the acquisition but refused to elaborate on details, although The Wall Street Journal reports that WifiSLAM was acquired for approximately $20 million. WifiSLAM develops technology that enables mobile apps to detect the location of a user within a building. The technology is expected to be used for retail, event and social networking applications that help companies understand indoor traffic patterns within locations such as shopping malls, stores and sporting arenas. WifiSLAM reportedly has technology that can locate users to within a 2.5 meter radius of accuracy as reported in GigaOM. The acquisition is seen as a move to bolster Apple’s technology in the mapping and GPS space in order to position itself more strongly against Google, whose Google Maps technology runs on both Android and Apple devices. Google, meanwhile, is no stranger to the indoor maps space and claims more than 10,000 indoor floor plans hailing from 13 countries. Apple’s acquisition of WifiSLAM is set to complement its acquisitions of mapping technology companies such as Poly9 and C3 Technologies. Apple’s September 2012 debacle debut of its proprietary mapping technology may have driven the acquisition but the question remains as to whether the Cupertino tech giant is late to the indoor-GPS party. Meanwhile, Gartner reports that revenue from location based services such as indoor-GPS technology will reach $13.5 billion in 2015, up from approximately $2.2 billion in 2009, with most of the revenue derived from smartphone-driven advertising.