Special Report: NEC Innovates Next Generation Office

The 'Real' Office of the Future

The 'Real' Office of the Future

The Paperless Office - A vision for the office of the future, where the use of paper is made redundant through information technology and office automation.

The reality however - as plain as anyone can see - is that technology has actually increased the proliferation of paper in both office and home because it is becoming increasingly easier to produce printed documents than ever before. Thus, the 'paperless office' has become more of a concept in enterprise technology advancement and modernization - to overcome traditional hurdles in business efficiency and productivity - rather than its original literal meaning.

Today's typical 'modern' office - as Dilbert (the popular comic character) so eloquently puts it - is "another day in cubicle paradise". Despite the illusion of mobility from notebooks, laptops and other mobile telecommunication devices, we are still basically chained to our personal cubicles, slaves of data portability and integrity. How many times have you needed to sync your workstation with your notebook or home desktop in order to continue working away from the office? What are the security factors involved? What happens when one introduces external elements into the enterprise network? And what backup and recovery measures have been taken?

NEC hopes to refedine the way we work.

From a business perspective, the answer has been the introduction of thin client computing, a server-side computing model using limited functional networked PCs that rely on the central server for most of its processing and data storage tasks. In this way, data can be streamlined, security is vastly improved and it offers lower operational costs for the business and an easier time for the IT guys to perform maintenance, updates and patching.

This is all well and good in theory, but traditional thin client PCs are just that - 'thin'. They are usually nothing more than it requires to load a network boot image for connecting to a central server to start its virtual PC. Compared to individual office desktop PCs, thin clients rely fully on server side virtualization and software application processing. They lack the performance necessary to take on today's business environments and tools that are increasingly networked and multimedia heavy, such as IP telecommunication, audio and video streaming and decoding.

We weren't allowed to snap photos inside the building, but NEC's headquarters is called the Super Tower for a very good reason. It is quite grand, in a clinical sort of way.

This is where NEC comes into the picture. While NEC has gradually withdrawn from the consumer IT space, they have been the busy beaver in the server, network and enterprise markets. In Japan, NEC has a very strong foothold and is still one of the top global technology brands. Recently, NEC announced their Virtual PC Center (VPCC), a next generation thin client system that they hope will revolutionize the office as we know it.

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