Thin Client solutions are popping up more frequently in both corporate and educational settings. This emerging technology seems to make sense on a variety of levels. Let's take a look at what Thin Clients are, the advantages of using them, and how NOVA incorporates them into our classroom furniture line.
First, what is a Thin Client? A Thin Client is a computer device that contains enough information to start up and connect to a more powerful network server, and the server computer provides the rest of the computing horsepower. The Thin Client may not even have a hard drive. If the Thin Client device needs to use a program or save a file, it will connect to the network server computer to do so. Relying on a server in a remote location, allows the Thin Client devices to be very small. An average device may measure around 7.5"L x 5.5"W x 1.6"H. Compare that with say, a MacPro desktop computer at approximately 19"L x 8"W x 20"H and it's easy to see why Thin Clients are quickly becoming favorites of already overcrowded classrooms.
Keep in mind, Thin Clients still need a computer monitor, a keyboard/mouse, and of course, network connectivity, just like any standard computer.
Here are five of the most popular advantages of using Thin Clients over standard desktop computers.
- Changes to system software, applications, backups, etc are made in one place - the main server
- Utilize servers to their maximum potential
- IT support and management are streamlined
- Reduces costs - lower equipment costs, repair costs, support costs, electricity costs
- Security - Steal a Thin Client and you have basically an empty shell that does nothing without the main server
And a quick word about point number 4 as it relates to energy savings.
Research has found that PCs use twice as much energy as a thin client environment. PCs average between 65 – 250 watts of energy whereas thin clients require only about 40 watts including the server. Some thin client models require less than 7 watts of energy for the hardware. “Using an estimate of 22.9 million business desktop PCs in operation around the U.S., businesses could be saving a total of about $354.7 million a year and cutting CO2 emission by about 2.45 billion pounds.” (Thin Clients Save Energy, Spare CO2 - eWeek) Source "Save Green and Go Green with Thin Clients" whitepaper pub. by BOSaNOVA
NOVA's solution for storing Thin Clients at each student workstation, comes in the form of our iMod™ compartment. The iMod™ is a 4" deep compartment located within the modesty of many of our classroom furniture models. The compartment has a lockable, removable cover (available in laminate or perforated metal). It serves to hide the Thin Client as well as all of the network cables, electrical wires, and other cords that connect to the Thin Client. The wire management trough keeps the cords neatly arranged and the grommets on each end allow for easy connectivity to an entire row of desks.
As the use of Thin Clients increases, the need for CPU space is disappearing. Yet, the Thin Client device still needs to be stored somewhere at each student's desk. The iMod™ provides the perfect solution for inconspicuously adding Thin Clients to a classroom without requiring any additional space.