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SMBs benefit from thin clients, says study

Firms with six workers could see TCO benefits

Businesses with as few as six employees could benefit from thin clients, scotching the idea that only large enterprises can benefit from the technology. That's according to a survey from Lancaster University which examined the effects of thin client technology on small businesses and found that they could make savings of up to 50 percent.

The research, commissioned by thin client computing vendor Thinspace, said that the study showed that thin client technology could reduce the costs of ownership for all types of company. In particular, organisations could show savings of 71 percent in maintenance costs, although capital expenditure could also be reduced by up to 61 percent.

Commenting on the survey results, Lisa Layzell, CEO of Thinspace, said that the some of the cost savings could be greater than the ones mentioned in the survey. "We didn't even look at training costs but one of things that we could do to reduce that is to pre-configure equipment before delivering it to clients," she said. "And from the green computing point of view, there's greater environmental cost in manufacturing PCs than there is in making thin client equipment."

She admitted that a lot of barriers to thin client adoption were psychological. "There's a reluctance to move, because they think it's going to be more expensive but the costs savings are considerable.

There's a growing interest in thin client computing. IDC has recently stated that more than 1.2 million thin clients will ship in 2010, an increase of 20 percent over 2009.

And Thinspace has developed a TCO calculator for companies to estimate whether they could be making a saving on using thin client computing. Layzell said that the increasing success of Salesforce with a pay-as-you-go computing model was opening doors for thin client computing and that companies should now not fear that their costs will increase.

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