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Nov 04 2014

FUJITSU Always Available Office PCs


Fujitsu's newly created LPAM feature rounds out the company's already impressive set of 'green' technologies that allow for substantial energy savings and cost cuts and virtually opens up the door for a multitude of new usage scenarios, with a special focus on Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C).

In today's hyper-connected economy, virtually no one ever goes offline anymore. Companies can't afford it because their customers, employees and shareholders must be able to access information and sometimes compute resources whenever necessary. Likewise, employees need to be able to stay in touch with customers and colleagues at any given moment during the workday. As a result, a majority of enterprises keeps their communication channels open 24/7, all the year round – much to the delight of customers and employees.

Other companies are still struggling to achieve this new level of accessibility, because their ICT infrastructures simply aren't up to the task. Standard desktop PCs in particular lack a number of core capabilities that prevent the necessary switch in communication strategies. The main obstacle is power consumption – to support permanent availability, a computer must constantly draw a certain amount of electricity from the circuit. And despite recent advancements in building energy-efficient PCs, this is still expensive: an average system bought in 2012 will eat up 576 kWh over a three-year period, which translate into mean costs of €121 ($162) for a 'pure' PC that doesn't even have standard peripherals like a monitor plugged in. To make things worse, these costs occur even though said PC spends two thirds of that time in standby or idle mode. For a company with hundreds or thousands of employees, this will quickly become a major cost factor. That's why Fujitsu's developers set out to create a technology that helps systems to stay constantly connected while at the same time improving their energy efficiency even further than before.

Low Power Active Mode or How to Keep Your PC Permanently Available
To achieve this ambitious goal, they built on the power-saving features of fourth-generation Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors and Intel® chipsets to provide a new functionality called Low Power Active Mode (LPAM). As the name indicates, LPAM is a new power-saving mode that helps bridge the gap between a computer's operating state and conventional standby ("Save to RAM", ACPI S3), in which it usually draws 1 watt from the grid. LPAM adds an "active standby" mode in which a device will draw 4 to 5 watts. Initially, this doesn't seem to make much sense – after all, where do the savings come from if LPAM actually requires more power than regular standby? The answer is in what it enables users to do.

With LPAM turned on, a desktop will start to behave almost like a smartphone: it may look totally inactive, but still draws enough power to perform critical background tasks. For example, network connections remain alive so that email programs can connect to the server at any given time and keep a user's inbox up-to-date. Likewise, the PC immediately switches to ON state as soon as a call or request for videoconferencing comes in; if the user isn't available, it automatically logs the request and arranges for a repeat call at a later date. It's even possible to run virus scans, and administrators can perform system maintenance as they see fit thanks to having constant in-band access. Tasks like these don't require a lot of energy, whereas typical 'power hogs' such as browsers get suspended and blocked from jumping to life by accident. On a properly configured system, the above-named basic processes need less than 5 watts, roughly 25 percent less than in standard idle mode.

While this is definitely a substantial advancement, it's not all the new technology is about. Ultimately, LPAM paves the way for a huge amount of new application scenarios, mainly with regard to UC&C and PC remote management. And best of all, these benefits are fairly easy to reap – all a user or sysadmin has to do is to choose the appropriate device profile ("always available") from a PC's workplace power and communication settings, pick the days and hours during which the system remains active, and select the applications to be suspended when the monitor is off. Add one more click to confirm the changes (see Figure 1 below), and it's all done. It doesn't get much simpler than that.



Fig. 1: Configuring LPAM in Workplace Power and Communication Settings


FUJITSU Products Supporting Low Power Active Mode
At the moment, the systems that support LPAM are identical with the client computing devices optimized for Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C):

  • The FUJITSU ESPRIMO X923 and X923-T (shown at the top) are all-in-one PCs that combine the latest Intel® Core™ processors and Intel® chipsets with Microsoft Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1/8.1 Pro. Building on these technologies, a set of innovative features goes along with LPAM. For instance, a presence sensor recognizes whether a PC user is at his workplace or not and, according to its findings, automatically turns the screen/system on or off, while a face recognition module allows for an easy and secure login. Together with accessories like an integrated presence/call indicator, these features turn the FUJITSU ESPRIMO X923 and X923-T into perfect hardware platforms for future UC&C scenarios. Further strengths include extra-low noise emissions; a comprehensive security package; and enhanced manageability through a combination of Intel® vPro™ technologies and Fujitsu's own DeskView functionality that enables centralized installation, personalization, management and updates of client systems.
  • The FUJITSU ESPRIMO Q920 and Q520 mini PCs provide all the power and functionality customers expect from a desktop device. Like their X series counterparts, they are equipped with 4th-generation Intel® Core™ processors and up to 16 GB of DDR3-RAM and run Microsoft Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1/8.1 Pro. Famous for their flexibility and superb usability, these members of the ESPRIMO Q series were designed to get by on 7 watts in standard idle mode. But even these noted energy savers were in for significant improvements: thanks to LPAM, the ESPRIMO Q920 now requires less than 5 watts while the ESPRIMO Q520 settles for 4 – between 30 and 40% less than before. Users only need to add a few accessories to turn them into another versatile platform for UC&C.

To provide the extended telephony and conferencing functions mentioned before, all of the above models support Microsoft Lync, albeit with one small difference: the FUJITSU ESPRIMO X series comes with an integrated presence/call indicator, whereas the FUJITSU ESPRIMO Q series requires a Busylight for Lync plus matching software if a customer wishes to implement optical and acoustic call indication.

Bernd Germandi


About the Author:

Bernd Germandi

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Fujitsu


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