Stop Entry Level Shaming

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There’s something about that label. “Entry level” systems are seen as insufficiently powerful, marginally useful, and utterly degrading when placed on a professional’s office desktop.

This characterization might have been accurate years ago. But today, even entry-level systems can be capable, powerful computing devices that, under the right circumstances, can be “cool” for users to work with.

Moving entry-level systems from stigma-inducing to cool requires properly making a handful of critical decisions. Get them right, and your organization could save significant money while boosting user satisfaction with new systems.

What is Entry Level?

It usually starts with a modestly powered CPU (often one generation behind the current market leader) and continues to have the following:

  • Minimal RAM (generally 4 GB at this point)

  • Basic graphics capabilities (sometimes, those on the motherboard; other times, those available from an inexpensive graphics board)

  • Gigabit Ethernet

Wrap it all in a basic box with a standard keyboard, mouse, and video monitor, and you have your entry-level system, which in many cases, is exactly what most of your employees need.

It Might be the Perfect System

As companies race to embrace cloud services, it can be argued that the entry system is the perfect system for most employees to use.

It might be that what you need is an internal marketing campaign, not a larger budget for desktop workstations. It all depends on the job you’re asking systems to do and the way you present the systems doing the job.

Chromebooks are the very definition of minimalistic workstations. The barest entry-level workstation will be more powerful than the most powerful Chromebook, so comparisons should be frequently made when talking with employees.

Spend Where it will be Noticed

Spend a few dollars on the components that have the biggest impact on user satisfaction.

1. Keyboard

There is now a dizzying array of keyboards available for purchase. Most of the keyboards that make the “enterprise-class” grade are within a few dollars of one another, so employees can be allowed to “customize” their system with little difference in purchase price and no difference in support costs.

2. Mouse

The IT department could offer employees their choice from a selection of mice or other pointing devices to be used at the desktop.

For minimal difference in price, the employee has a maximum feeling of personalization.

3. Monitor Size

The enterprise standard has been twenty-one-inch or twenty-four-inch monitors for nearly a decade. But today, it’s possible to purchase twenty-seven-inch monitors for little to no more money.

The entry-level system doesn’t need to be a symbol of shame, for it can gain access to cloud-based services and information as equally well as more expensive systems. And if the IT department will allow for some choice in input devices and monitor, the users will come away feeling more digitally empowered than ever before.

Get The Most Out Of Entry Level

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5 Reasons The Workstation Is Key To Manufacturing

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Modern manufacturing is as much about reducing manual processes and innovating with digital prototyping and 3D printing as it is using machines to make a physical product. Modern manufacturing operations now require a high degree of computing power. Desktop workstations are ideal for providing a high level of computing power with a visual interface for an engineer or operator.

Evolution of the Workstation

For many years, the engineering workstation was a device category in its own right. Distinct from regular home and business PCs, the workstation was designed and built for high-end computation and graphics applications. They also included:

  • 64-bit processors (when PCs were 32-bit)
  • Large amounts of enterprise-grade memory
  • Discrete graphics capability
  • Plenty of local storage

In addition to the high-end hardware, workstations were also characterized by their Unix operating systems in a world where most people used Windows. As PC technology matured, 64-bit CPUs became a standard. Fast forward to today where the modern workstation is functionally equivalent to a high-end desktop, but it is still very relevant to manufacturing industries and technology development.

Workstations for Modern Manufacturing

With workstations now readily available, CIOs must evaluate the use cases for workstations and how they can complement ubiquitous mobile computers. In manufacturing, the business case for workstations remains solid.

1. Performance

The processing power, memory, and storage of workstations are superior to portable computers, and this is important where the immediacy of operational parameters is crucial. Workstations can also be "clustered" to deliver far greater performance than regular PCs.

2. Design and Visualization

The high-end graphics capability and large display options of workstations make them well suited to manufacturing where visual design and monitoring are central to operations.

3. Prototyping

Manufacturing is moving from traditional physical prototyping to the new era of digital prototyping. Products are designed then "tested" in a simulated environment using the known properties of the materials. Using workstations for digital prototyping can significantly reduce production costs and the time to market.

4. Security

Workstations have the added advantage of being able to be locked down and located in control rooms away from sensitive manufacturing equipment. Many manufacturing operations restrict mobile devices on site for reasons of fire safety and interference protection.

5. Application Support

Mobile device platforms are catching up, but the platform support and user experience of workstations is a much more complete environment than what portables offer.

The engineering workstation is alive and well in manufacturing and continues to offer a strategic advantage over other computing options. It's up to CIOs and IT managers to put them to best use, including for innovative programs like visualization and prototyping. Current Technologies' partnership with Dell allows for us to quickly bring you high powered workstations allowing you to begin maximizing productivity. If you are not currently using desktops for activities like monitoring lines, prototyping, or design you are missing out on a huge opportunity for growth.

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Don't Give Up On The Desktop Yet

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The Desktop Is Not Dead

According to some, you would think all corporate employees can do their jobs on their smartphone or on a tablet at most. The thing is, there are still many business tasks that are best performed using a larger display, a more substantial keyboard, and more computing power than even the best mobile option can afford.

Unsung Flexibility On The Desktop

The capabilities of a traditional desktop computer can be found in a wide variety of packages that can fit an array of needs. Whether the task at hand would most benefit from a minimal footprint on the desk, minimum impact on the help desk or maximum performance, some variety of desktop personal computer can fit the bill.

"All-in-one" computers have been available for years, but they became more capable and flexible with the introduction of Windows 10. An all-in-one computer can be the platform of choice for applications that range from old-school enterprise green-screens to responsive HTML5 web-facing apps due to a combination of mix-and-match elements, such as:

  • A minimal footprint on the desk
  • Monitor sizes that can range from adequate to extravagant
  • I/O expansion capabilities through a variety of external ports
  • Touchscreen monitors
  • An operating system that can take advantage of all of the pieces

A Step Above “Thin Clients”

Minimum physical footprint and minimal hardware combine in compact systems that are a significant step above "thin clients" in capability, though not in size. These very small systems are ideal for situations in which the hardware will be embedded in furniture and the software embedded in a virtual server on the other end of the network.

Only the hardware required for user interaction will be visible, and the bulk of application processing will be done at the server. At the same time, these minimal PCs have local storage and processing, so application data can be kept at the endpoint as long as necessary. Also, application processing and data storage can continue even if network connectivity is lost.

Stepping Up To Workstations

The application processing and storage capabilities are ramped up in workstations that support the most demanding applications for workers in specialized tasks. These desktop (or desk-side) personal computers can boast multiple CPUs, each with multiple cores, and several terabytes of storage. For engineering and scientific applications, they are must-have platforms with capabilities that can't be matched by any laptop, tablet, or another handheld device.

There are certain employees and tasks for which a tablet or smartphone is the perfect computing platform. But for many business applications and users, a current-generation take on the traditional desktop workstation is still the preferred solution for bringing enterprise computing to the office. Current Technologies, through partnerships with Dell and other leading computer manufacturers, can analyze your businesses desktop related needs and provide you with the necessary equipment to maximize employee productivity and overall continuity. 

What Do You Use Desktops For?

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