Parallels Software is an interesting company with some very bright ideas. I know this because I spent time with company representatives at TechEd 2014. The company eventually won the Best of TechEd 2014 in the Systems Management category. The product that won them the acclaim was their Mac for Enterprise product that integrates seamlessly with System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr). The major reason that this company won was that the company found a way to centrally manage Macs in businesses without ruining the management experience that IT Pros were already accustomed to through the use of ConfigMgr. The Mac management app simply plugs into the ConfigMgr console and administrators can then just treat Macs like any other Enterprise asset. Great stuff!

It seems the company likes to take the non-disruptive route, and that's a good thing. More companies really need to take notice of how Parallels is developing around existing experiences instead of intruding and trying to change the already chosen experience.

Parallels today, is announcing a new version of its Parallels Access app. Parallels Access is a different take on Remote Desktop. Instead of trying to stuff a large remote desktop screen into a small smartphone screen, Parallels is approaching it from the app first. Instead of this huge, scrollable remote screen, Parallels provides remote access to the actual apps.

The only reason companies really use a Remote Desktop app is to have remote access to their PCs and servers to run applications, but today's Remote Desktop approach is like trying to fit the ocean in a cup. Organizations don't really need a full-sized mirror of the remote screen, they just need access to a few applications.

Parallels has recognized this and is providing the ability to launch applications within the customer's environment of choice, retaining (again, not disrupting) the chosen platform experience. For example, want to use Remote Desktop to connect an iPad to a Windows PC? Let Parallels make the connection, but then serves the remote apps in the familiar iOS interface you're used to using already. The remote computer simply shows up as any other iOS app, ready to execute.

The new version works with the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Included here is the Press Release from Parallels:

Press Release

Parallels Access Brings Its Superior Remote Access to Android and iPhone, Gives Users of Traditional Remote Desktop Solutions a Simpler and More Effective Mobile Experience

Business owners, employees, soccer moms, police departments, realtors and social workers have become more effective on the move with the help of Parallels Access

Renton, WA, U.S.A. – June 17, 2014Parallels® today introduced a major update to its Parallels Access app (www.parallels.com/access) for remote access to PCs and Macs. Originally available only on iPad, this release adds support for Android phones and tablets and for the iPhone; it also delivers new features for even better remote experience, and introduces Parallels Access for Business (www.parallels.com/access-business) which lets companies centrally assign, manage, and secure remote access to their computers. 

Since the introduction in August 2013, road warriors from highway patrol officers to real estate agents, insurance agents and sales professionals have become more productive with Parallels Access while on the move. It enables them to leave their laptops back in the office and travel light with iPads. For others, from soccer moms to business owners, Parallels Access provides insurance for those inevitable, unanticipated events life throws at them: getting a file that is needed now but it’s sitting on the computer at home, or completing an urgent project while on the move with only a mobile device. 

“Parallels Access received a tremendously positive reception from iPad users, and now we are extending our solution to millions of Android and iPhone users. While traditional remote desktop products are trying to show a large desktop on a small mobile device, we worked hard to make remote access from mobile devices a truly simple and effective experience,” said Jack Zubarev, president of Parallels. “With this in mind, Parallels Access enables people to interact with full-featured Mac and PC apps with touch gestures just like the apps were made for their iPhone, iPad or Android device.”

In addition to new platforms, new features include:

  • Facebook login integration lets users log in quickly and easily. 
  • Ability to launch desktop applications with a single tap right from the home screen of an Android device. 
  • A new file browser lets iOS users quickly browse and open files on their remote computer using Parallels Access. 
  • Desktop applications that use a microphone can now be used with the microphone on your iPad or iPhone. 
  • Ability to change screen resolution for best fit for different types of devices. 

Laura DiDio, principal analyst of ITIC, said, “Parallels Access is a must-have mechanism to remotely access your Windows or Mac applications and files from your tablet or phone. Its breakthrough ‘applification’ technology transforms desktop applications and integrates native mobile features and functions so they are fully usable with touch gestures as though they were made for your mobile device.” “The result,” she added, “is the industry’s best Windows and Mac remote access application. Parallels Access is a reliable, fast and intuitive experience that finally makes mobile devices effective productivity tools.”

Tim Bajarin, CEO and analyst at Creative Strategies, said, “Today most all employees have an iPad, iPhone, Android tablet or Android phone and carry them everywhere. Until recently they were merely consumption devices. Now, thanks to revolutionary apps that transform mobile devices into powerful productivity tools, people can intuitively access all of their full-featured Windows and Mac computer applications and files from anywhere so they can get more done on the move.”

Parallels Access for Business Subscriptions Now Available

Parallels Access for Business subscriptions enable IT admins to centrally manage Parallels Access for their employees, including granting or restricting access and reassigning accounts as needed. Business Account subscriptions start at $49.99 per year for five computers. As a limited-time special offer, Parallels Access for Business is available for free for unlimited users and computers until July 31, 2014. Details are available online at www.parallels.com/access-business

Customer Quotes

“Parallels Access lets us leave our Toughbooks in the office and access them via our iPads. This has reduced clutter in our cruisers, and cut down on downtime overall for our officers in the field.”  – Sergeant Robert Dauberman, South Bloomfield Police Department, Ohio

“Our entire office of real estate agents uses Parallels Access now. We can access everything we need on our iPads while showing homes.” –  Lori Fowler, Charitable Realty, Texas

“Parallels Access has made it possible for me to enter case notes directly into the desktop-only application on my remote machine while I’m in the field, with a client, or in court. This frees me up to get right back to work when I return to the office instead of spending the rest of the day transcribing my case notes.” – Lindsey VerNooy, Social Worker for Child Protective Services, Department of Human Services, Oregon

Join the Parallels Access Online Community

To stay up to date on Parallels Access, check out our Applify blog, plus connect with the team and community directly on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ParallelsAccess) and Twitter @ParallelsAccess (www.twitter.com/parallelsaccess). 

Availability, Pricing and Hardware Requirements

Parallels Access is available in the Apple iTunes App Store and on Google Play with a two week free trial. Individual subscriptions are available for $19.99 for one year or $34.99 for two years, and include the ability to access up to five remote computers from an unlimited number of iOS and Android tablets and phones. As a limited-time special offer, new customers who purchase Parallels Access until June 30, 2014 can get a two-year subscription for $29.99.

Parallels Access for Business subscriptions start at $49.99 per-year and details are available online at www.parallels.com/access-business. As a limited-time offer until July 31, 2014, Parallels Access for Business will be available for free for an unlimited number of employees, computers and devices.

Hardware Requirements:

  • iPad: iPad mini and iPad 2 or later running iOS 7. 
  • iPhone: iPhone 4s and later running iOS 7.
  • Android: Most tablets and phones running Android 4.0 and later.

Remote computers can be a PC running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1, or a Mac running OS X Mavericks (10.9), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) and OS X Lion (10.7).

About Parallels

Parallels is a global leader in hosting and cloud services enablement and cross platform solutions. Parallels began operations in 2000 and is a fast-growing company with more than 900 employees in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Visit www.parallels.com for more information.