There has been a lot of noise about net computers, thin clients or terminal devices. Same stuff, different names. The idea is that the processing is done by a central computer and the graphics are viewed on your screen anywhere in the world.
This is not new technology, but it has evolved to the point where videos and sound files play just fine. So now there is a raft of emerging technology for the SME sector that will create all the business tools on a central server and let staff access them from anywhere in the office or on the net.
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Many of our clients and other SMEs already use a terminal server to do this, but are not yet getting all the benefits of accelerated sound and graphics. In fact I am sitting in my home office using a terminal as I write this article as I do not have a PC at home. Fancy that – an IT geek with no PC.
I could try to throw lots of technology at you to explain why this is so exciting to me, but I am going to resist. Contact me if you want to know more about the technology side. I will instead focus on why you can save a fortune by deploying this technology in 2009.
First and foremost, this is a well understood technology from the technologists’ end, so it is very manageable. This can lead to good stability and increased productivity in your business.
Management is performed on a central server that can be located anywhere – in your office, my office, or a data centre. There is no need to configure the thin clients, so once it is built, expansion to more people in your organisation is simple.
As an application is installed once on the server, everyone can start using it immediately. Software and security upgrades are done once, and apply to all users. Thus management of a terminal-based client is a fraction of the cost of managing a PC-based client – one system to control, one system to manage, less variation so less expense.
The technology works really well over 3G wireless broadband, so mobile thin clients can work well also. The telcos won’t like it though, as the technology does not use much data download over the 3G network so they can’t make too much money off you.
Speaking of which, here is the next very cool step for SMEs.
In 2009 you will be able to set this up on a service basis, so you don’t even need to purchase the hardware or software, you just pay a monthly price per server and per client and it is turned on for you. The idea of a breakdown or paying for IT services could become a thing of the past.
The vision is for a one-box solution that has ”managed everything” including on-line automated backup.
There is one question you could answer for me though – would you trust the big telcos to manage the hardware and connections for you, or would you want a company you can reach out and touch?