Thin Clients have been a boon to workspaces as they reduce space and consumption of power. Find out how they have changed workspace dynamics over the years.

Space crunching is a major issue now and with social distancing as the new norm, the requirement for downsizing on assets and resources has gone up. This extends to office spaces and cyber cafes where you need a lot of people and a lot of systems. While the former can be debated later on, when it comes to installing a lot of PCs, this can be draining in terms of power, space and monetary consumption. That’s why the best alternative is a thin client.

What is a thin client?

In simple terms, a thin client is a basic computer that acts as a mothership for establishing a local or remote connection among servers placed in an area. Speaking of the physicalities of the thin client, a thin client is easy to maintain and handle. A standard thin client’s dimensions will be 15 cm tall with a width of 3 cm and will weigh somewhere in the range of 500 g to 1.5 kg.

When talking about the principle, let’s take an example. Say as an owner, you have a lot of systems in your office space. Some servers store all that mammoth data, but to access all of that, you have software residents on your system which could be a PC or laptop. Now instead of buying separate PCs or laptops for each employee, you can install a thin client which connects with your servers and deliver the software applications to each employee. All you need to provide is a monitor, keyboard and mouse. This process is also called Desktop visualisation.

Thin Client vs Thick Client

‘A client’ is the desktop interface that is seen by an application that a user is using. There are two types of such client viz. ‘Thick’ and ‘Thin’. A ‘thick’ or a ‘fat’ client requires a portion of the application to be downloaded on the desktop. It runs on its own, but the programming language is usually Js or C#. On the other hand, a thin client is one where there is no requirement for supplementary software to be installed. In today’s context, it’s a web application that needs a browser to avail the app to the user but is a customised terminal hardware appliance. That’s how programming defines it.

What majorly makes the thin client an added advantage is that it guards against viruses and cybercrimes as it does not provide direct access to endpoint OS. But in general, it’s one of the most sought after devices in corporate workspaces, banks, cafes or even in homes. Let us discuss further what advantages this device brings.

1. No More Space Jams

Well, definitely not the movie franchise, but irl, a thin client declutters the constraints of space as mentioned earlier. They are so small and don’t take much room. This is especially an optimal choice for industrial settings, warehouses, factories where there are chances of dust, debris or accidents to occur and the damage could be monumental. They also don’t need cooling fans to provide a breathing room for the internals of the machine.

2. Your Coffers Remain Heavy

Like space, thin clients act like boons for offices because they save a lot of money and energy.  It’s quite self-explanatory how a thin client incurs minimal expenses because it’s one device doing the work of multiple systems. A fully assembled PC will cost you twice or thrice the price of a thin client and you’ll have to pay a pound of flesh for working capital costs, maintenance, data centre legroom costs, licensing, IT support costs, etc. A thin client saves total administration and operating costs by up to 70%. Thin clients have a longer shelf life as they take longer than PCs to become run-of-the-mill.

3. Going Green

Studies suggest that thin clients can save up to 97% of your electricity bill as they have an average electricity consumption of 8-20 watts in comparison to 150 watts to that of a computer. They are environment friendly as well as they help in reducing carbon footprints, don’t require mechanical parts to be dismembered and thrown away and produce less heat than PCs and laptops.

4. Levelling Up The Security Game

In case of suspicious activities like malware or illegal activities, dedicated PCs are always at a greater threat of being attacked. Thin clients restrict access to servers via a network connection which you as an owner can control. All activities are centred at one junction when working with a thin client which makes it easy to have a strict eye upon activities and shutting the system down in case of any anomaly.

5. Ease Of Distribution

When you have a barrage of systems with you, you get this one complaint quite regularly— UPDATES! It’s a pain that too, a perpetual one. Thin clients’ benefit is that it can introduce changes to the thin client application sans separately thrusting software to every desktop. Although this confines the scope of individually downloading a copy of the application, this keeps the network the least tainted as mentioned in the above point.

6. Enhanced Productivity

Another huge benefit that a thin client brings along is that it's very easy to use and doesn’t require rocket science. You don’t need a specialist (or become one for the sake) to set up and operate it. Standard PCs need repair times which cause delays. Such is never the case with a thin client. Also, portability, as one can access apps and information from anywhere, anytime. The pre-configuration and packaging can be done virtually and put into operation within minutes.

With this, you know how thin clients are resourceful items for places that use a lot of systems. Such an alternative will save you from cost-cutting and help you in judicious spending. Your office needs a flexible IT environment and a thin client will bring that dynamism along with it. As the device creates a virtual desktop, one can access it with their smartphones, tablets, PCs or laptops from home as well. Isn’t this such a remarkable bend of technology?