I wrote a blog previously about Dropbox. An application that allows you to sync a folder so that you can access it over the internet, or on whatever PC you have dropbox installed on. I love the application, the only pitfall is that it only gives you 2gb of free space, after which you need to start paying a monthly fee to get more space. I found another application today called 4Sync, its basically the exact same $9.95. Not too bad. I decided to try it out today and I was able to sync a folder and have the folder replicated on two different PC’s. I can also access the files logging into the 4Sync website at www.4sync.com or there is even an app for my iPhone that works very well. I was able to open various files and documents with no issues.
According to many, USB standardized organizations have made many claims that USB 3.0 will come to smartphones and tablets this year. This is important to our industry and will make things a lot better. These units will have microUSB ports located on them that will allow this manner of connection which will fit all different size devices. The ports will allow faster data transfer between mobile devices and hosts such as PC’s, some of which will already have USB 3.0 ports located in them. Data transfer rates will be roughly between 800 to 1000 Mbps (MG per second). The current port connection is USB 2.0 and the upgrade to 3.0 will greatly improve speed. A data transfer with USB 2.0 that takes 15 minutes will be greatly reduces to 1 minute with USB 3.0, quite a difference. As a result tablets and smartphones will recharge much faster via USB 3.0.
I was at a conference last week and saw a funny thing that I did not think would ensue so quickly in the technology and business environment. Sitting in the meeting with 25 other people, both business and technical folks, about 80% of them had iPads which was shocking really. More and more with our client base, iPads are starting to take over as the presentation tool and fun toy for the “c” level executives. Several of my own team member here at BVA own and leverage iPads in business activity, but for the most part it’s not adding value in my humble view in a business perceptive. It’s definitely moved into the benefit category as opposed to the NEED one. That being said it is a nice product that has it’s place in the residential side as well as the educational sector. The unit is not very secure and has alot of the security risks associated with the iPhone. ??The iPad can be used to access networks via RDP session (remote session) and actually works very well and quick on the 3G network but that still raises the question of security and access points for your network. I read an article here recently, that talked about how popular the iPad is with business and that a research company estimates that 2 million iPads have already been bought by companies with 1-99 employees. That is hard to believe but its a fact, the adoption rate is higher for companies with at least 20 employees.
The research article surfaced that the common uses for the device include demos, presentations, email, and Internet browsing. Larger businesses also use them as a tool when speaking with customers. Most of the businesses are using the iPad as a new gadget; it is not replacing PCs or other devices. The research company believes that notebooks, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones will continue to coexist in the future as data moves into the cloud. Technically does not provide further statistics from its survey or the number of people and type of survey it conducted. Having said that, it is encouraging to see small businesses adopting a device like the iPad.
It will be interesting what Apple decides to do with their new market share in the business segment. Will they decide to alter their OS code to be more desktop centric? It’s a great way to penetrate a market that Apple quite frankly has ignored.
BVA has been in the cloud for sometime. Obviously being in the cloud means alot of different things to alot of different people. Everyone seems to have their own spin on the term. For some time now we have wondered if Microsoft would come out with System Center for the cloud (BPOS). The overall BPOS solution has been fairly stable and successful yet there have been a few pitfalls but have worked through them with support.
As its core, Windows Intune is a cloud-based version of the desktop management capabilities customers could previously get by deploying Microsoft System Center technologies. For those that do not know that Microsoft System Center, it’s basically a bunch of older product put together via a large suite of applications. That being said the applications contributed are valid and great products. It’s basically the old SMS desktop management system and basically MOM. These are tried and tested application that BVA has deployed for several years, yet all required their own on-premise servers. Therefore, Window Intune, rather than hosting a System Center server on-premises and managing desktops from the server, administrators using Windows Intune load a client onto the desktops. Administrators can access, via a browser, the management software and tools in the cloud and manage and secure those desktops through the cloud. In addition to the product features, the monthly subscription will include upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise for every covered desktop and an option to buy the otherwise hard-to-get Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).
When the first limited beta of Windows Intune arrived in April, Microsoft described it almost exclusively as a midmarket IT-focused offering, with a slightly lower-end core audience than the System Center suite of products reaches. Core capabilities of Windows Intune include the ability to centrally manage the deployment of updates and service packs to PCs, to manage protection of PCs through the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine, to receive alerts that help administrators proactively monitor PCs, provide remote assistance, track hardware and software inventory, and set security policies. For users familiar with Microsoft’s other product families, Windows Intune combines a Web-based management console with the desktop malware protection and reporting of the Microsoft Forefront Protection Suite and the update management, inventory and software deployment of Microsoft System Center Configuration manager 2007 or Microsoft System Center Essentials. Windows Intune also has the operating system distribution capabilities of Configuration Manager.
After reviewing all the facts it seems that this will be a great offering for our client base. We are going to try this out at a client next month and we are looking forward to really seeing the real-world applications and cost savings. I think it is fair to say that I am a little apprehensive about the security associated in imaging desktops through the cloud, but time will tell. As a collective unit, BVA is staying positive with the security and ease of use.