Check out the cloud monitors available now and a detail of the zero-client technology
Learn the ins and outs of so-called cloud monitors, which companies make them, and what they can do for your SMB clients.
July 16, 2013
It’s uncommon when something that seems dumb turns out to be extremely smart. But that’s exactly the case with the emerging category of cloud displays, also known as cloud monitors.
Conceptually, cloud displays hearken back to the 1980s, when “dumb” monochromatic terminals connected to centralized mainframes, which held all of the applications and intelligence. For the next 20 years, the pendulum swung toward so-called “fat clients”—fully loaded PCs and Macs that moved much of the applications and intelligence from centralized mainframes directly to the desktop.
Viewed at the time as a breakthrough in empowering users to be their most productive and creative, fat desktops are now considered an albatross in many organizations. As applications become more resource hungry, PCs and Macs in the workplace need to be continually updated and replaced every few years. Then there are all of the other things that come with having smart, fat client PCs in an office: users unwittingly installing rogue software and uploading and downloading viruses, not to mention Solitaire.
Today, familiar companies like LG, Samsung and ViewSonic are marketing cloud displays, also known as “zero clients.” That’s because these monitors are even more lightweight in terms of resources than “thin clients” like tablets and netbooks, let alone full-scale PCs. Zero-client cloud displays provide a rich user interface and forward key and mouse clicks to cloud-based servers. Unlike in the days of mainframes, the intelligence now resides in the network and its attached servers, and the displays simply tap into that intelligence.
Manufacturers of cloud displays are finding quite a bit of traction for these no-muss, no-fuss products in the marketplace as IT resources get tighter.
“Cloud monitors are true all-in-one devices, true zero clients,” says Phillip Johnson, senior channel manager with LG Commercial, which is on its second generation of cloud monitors. “There’s no operating system to deal with, no CPU, no storage. Really, it’s just pixels.” Johnson also notes that zero clients greatly reduce an organization’s power consumption requirements, which are pretty sky high in PC-centric environments. In other words, they help organizations not only go green but save significant green too.
These displays have become popular in markets such as healthcare and education, where no particular user “owns” a personal machine such as a PC or Mac, but needs access to applications wherever he or she is throughout a hospital or campus. For the most