Is your school building the classroom of the future today?

Classroom of the futureYou probably learned every organ in the body from a textbook, and your grade depended on recalling what the pancreas does and the difference between the large and small intestines. It’s fair to say that times have changed.

In classrooms across America, teachers are presenting subjects in new ways and students are immersing themselves in individually crafted lessons due to the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets and the introduction of virtual reality (VR) and other technologies. Thanks to the advent of these technologies, teachers have changed the classroom environment to accommodate their students’ learning preferences.

What some might think of as “the classroom of the future” is already here. Here are three tech trends many schools are adopting that will shape the classroom of the not-too-distant future: (more…)

How the Internet of Things is driving cost-saving efficiencies for manufacturers

Cisco Internet of Things for ManufacturingIf there’s one industry that demands efficiency, it’s manufacturing. Lined with robots and skilled workers side by side, modern assembly lines pump out millions of goods every year at record speeds. But nearly every line will experience maintenance shutdowns, can improve flow, and can correct designs and oversights.

Manufacturers are now combating those challenges with Internet of Things (IoT) devices that can bring about big results through data collection. In fact, 61 percent of North American manufacturing executives said they’d be willing to use IoT devices to monitor equipment for predictive maintenance services.

This is the next step in the evolution of industry, which has come a long way from the steam-powered 18th century. The mass production of the 20th century and the advent of robots in the 1970s sped production lines, and now those tools are getting smart. The digitization of manufacturing means smart devices and technological progress that’s opening new opportunities.

Welcome to Manufacturing 2.0, where IoT devices are boosting productivity, improving efficiency, and putting money into manufacturers’ pockets. (more…)

Everything you think you know about VDI is wrong. Let’s set the record straight.

Dell VDIA virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is expensive, right? And, of course, it’s way too complex for most organizations. And a VDI user experience surely folds under the weight of power users running intense processes.

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

VDI has come a long way in the past decade – it supports the most extreme demands of power users and can drive down an organization’s operating costs. But VDI misperceptions still linger, to the detriment of many organizations.

Part of the issue is the lack of exposure to new VDI solutions, which have become much more refined in the last 10 years. It’s 2016, and VDI is a realistic option for organizations of all sizes, including school districts and governments. So let’s pull back the curtain on those misperceptions, and see why VDI in 2016 is different than what you remember from 2006. (more…)

Earth Day review: Here’s how much pollution we prevented in 2015 through asset recovery

Earth Day review of asset recoveryIf you read our blog post highlighting the 5 hallmarks of successful asset recovery, you might remember why asset recovery – the proper disposal or recycling of hardware devices – is so important: It’s a versatile, economical solution that protects your organization and simplifies IT asset management.

One of the biggest advantages to asset recovery is the environmental benefits. Adopting an asset recovery program guarantees devices are responsibly disassembled and recycled, and the precious metals, toxic materials, and extra components aren’t dumped in a landfill. If you throw those same devices in a standard garbage can, they end up feeding the growing global environmental issue of e-waste.

E-waste contains various hazardous metals that can harm the human immune, nervous, and reproductive systems, as well as pollute the air, water, and soil. By handing off end-of-life devices to an asset recovery provider, you are not only protecting the environment but the rest of humanity as well. (more…)

The IT superhero that saves money, energy, and time: Here’s hyperconverged infrastructure

Lenovo hyperconverged infrastructureWhy is your morning commute frustrating? Rubbernecking, erratic drivers, and faulty stop lights might contribute to your irritation, but the real reason morning commutes drive us mad is volume – there are a lot of cars on the road at the same time.

Something similar happened when organizations first adopted virtualization. When IT departments moved their computing into virtualized environments, they also moved data into shared storage. All the applications connected to the same storage array at the same time, slowing data retrieval, creating bottlenecks, and missing the target of increased efficiency.

Solving those bottlenecks isn’t always easy – it can be costly to upgrade to the newest technology and the underlying problem of too many applications accessing the same storage arrays doesn’t change. So what can IT do to eliminate these bottlenecks?

The answer might be hyperconverged infrastructure. Though many still see it as a buzzword, hyperconverged infrastructure is helping organizations, including many state and local governments, reduce costs, free up IT resources, and boost employee productivity. There are many advantages to hyperconverged infrastructures, which are significantly simpler to operate, use less energy and space, and offer a quick return on investment. (more…)

New iPhone, iPad Pro give businesses true flexibility in selecting Apple products

March 2016 Apple event takeawaysMonday’s Apple event might not have dropped the next bombshell, must-have, industry-changing product, but it certainly showcased some new hardware that will transform businesses. Apple turns 40 on April 1, and its new hardware demonstrates the company’s evolution in its offering to businesses large and small.

The event was wide-ranging, moving from encryption to recycling to CareKit and ResearchKit.

But Apple announcements are all about the hardware. Apple’s new iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro both offer new tools for the enterprise, in a move that presents organizations a growing list of more specialized options that fit specific employee roles with fewer compromises. At the same time, Apple is helping admins better support these tools with several MDM features now live in iOS 9.3. Let’s take a look. (more…)

The 6 questions we’re asked most about IT leasing

Frequently asked questions about IT leasingWe’ve all heard of car leases, but you might not know about IT hardware leases. But you should. Especially if your employees are stuck with Model T hardware you bought outright when they could be using a leased Tesla.

Few organizations take advantage of leases for their devices’ whole lifecycles. Servers, desktops, and tablets age quickly, and often there’s just not enough money in IT’s budget to replace them. Instead of leasing or replacing laptops with the newest processors and more storage, companies keep devices whose value declines every day as they grow frustratingly slow to work on.

For a company in this situation, leasing IT hardware might be a good option as it can establish a schedule for hardware replacement at a known cost. Plus, employees should benefit by working on modern devices with better processors and storage and that run the latest operating system.

Many organizations don’t take advantage of hardware leasing because it’s still a bit unknown to them. Others just need a refresher on how it all works – some may remember Xerox leasing its copy machines. Some may be thinking about leasing hardware, but have reservations about the process.

We rounded up the six questions we hear most often about leasing IT hardware, and provide below a clear view into how hardware leasing works and what you need to know before, during, and after a lease. (more…)

How one company regained visibility into its IT supply chain and saved nearly a million dollars

serversA multinational conglomerate needed hardware fast. After deciding to spin off one of its businesses, it needed to build data centers to equip the new entity with servers and storage.

The spinoff was on a tight timeline, but that wasn’t the only need for a speedy rollout. The new data centers required tight security controls that ensured customers’ data – designs and other intellectual property – wasn’t at risk. (more…)

5 hallmarks of successful asset recovery

asset recoveryOut with the old, in with the new, right? Let’s adjust that adage a bit: Securely dispose of the old, and in with the new.

Asset recovery – the proper disposal or recycling of hardware devices – is a modern IT requirement for organizations of all sizes. Too often, old equipment that has gone past its end-of-life or is replaced with a new model ends up being thrown away, winding up in a landfill. How many devices get lost in a cluttered drawer and closet, and then simply thrown out? (more…)

Why your 2-year-old computer is making you unproductive

improve performanceFor years, organizations have worked on a 3- or 4-year hardware refresh cycle – a timeframe that has become the conventional wisdom. But that conventional wisdom may no longer be accurate.

Hardware fresh out of the box is quick to boot up, full of memory, and responsive. But after a few years, laptops and desktops alike are running well below optimal performance – hard drives are filled up, and boot times can be measured in minutes, not seconds. Plus, these older computers are probably running old operating systems vulnerable to security breaches and intrusions. Newer operating systems like Windows 10 include automated updates but aren’t suited for older equipment. (more…)