Long Live the Multi-Device Era

In the second floor commissary of the Dell cloud client-computing building in Silicon Valley, there is a light fixture. It's unlike most corporate lighting. Rectangular. Beautiful. Modern.


It is made of dozens of translucent glass orbs, hung by corresponding wires from the ceiling. Each six-inch sphere encases a small canned light, no bigger than a AA battery. On their own, the small globes would emit little light. But together, they produce a powerfully rich source of clarity over an 8’ x 3’ utility counter, not to mention the entire room.

Why should you care? The light fixture parallels Dell’s contemporary approach to workforce computing. No longer do workers use a singular desktop, laptop, or even operating system. Last week, Bill Odell talked about how this new multi-OS, multi-device world impacts systems management

“In the multi-device era, end-users access apps and files across dozens of OS agnostic devices, more than half of which are mobile,” says Dan O’Farrell, senior product manager at Dell.

Powering those devices are hundreds—sometimes thousands—of smart servers, which many people call “the cloud.” Without each other—including legacy PCs that continue to play a vital, albeit reduced role in “the fixture”—each device is limited. But together, when designed, deployed, and managed well, they enable what we call “end-to-end computing.” They enable end-user choice.

“Although I unapologetically evangelize the benefits of cloud clients, the multi-device era is not an either/or proposition,” says Margaret Hughes, senior director of global marketing at Dell. “It’s not about choosing smartphones and tablets over desktops and laptops, or even replacing old form-factors with new—although that’s sometimes needed. The multi-device era is really about identifying which device works best for a work environment.”

That ethos drives the Dell brand today. It reconciles virtual desktops with physicals PCs. It acknowledges the latter as an important piece of “the fixture” and sometimes gateway device to a total computing, less transactional future.

For Dell and our stakeholders, it’s simply the right approach, says O’Farrell.

“Cloud client-computing creates customers for life, because it offers more choice in the long run,” he explains. “Things like BYOD apps for smartphones and tablets, physical desktops and laptops for heavy lifting, and thin clients for everyday work. And, of course, the mother brain to synchronize and mobilize it all, no matter the device (aka Dell’s infrastructure expertise).”

To learn more, see dell.com/cloudclientcomputing

About the Author: Jeff McNaught

Jeff McNaught is the Vice President of Marketing at Dell Cloud Client- Computing. Jeff is widely considered the most quoted spokesperson for cloud client-computing in the world. With the experience of hundreds of speaking engagements, articles and press interviews, he is considered an authority on the topics of green IT, cybersecurity, mobility, desktop virtualization and cloud computing. He joined Dell in 2012 as part of the Wyse acquisition and now leads end-to-end desktop virtualization marketing and strategy efforts with his talented team. Jeff joined Wyse in 1987 as an engineer, then led various strategy, development, marketing and general management roles where his most notable achievement was co-inventing and spearheading the development of the award-winning Wyse thin clients, now with tens of millions of units in use worldwide. He lives in El Dorado Hills, Calif., and earned his M.B.A. from Pepperdine University.
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