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Dec 18 2015

Revolutionize the Meeting Room with FUJITSU ESPRIMO Q920/MRE and Intel® Unite™

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In today's business world, companies thrive best if they can implement easy and effective communication and collaboration. Unfortunately, they will often find this is anything but easy, as even technologies designed to facilitate communication often turn out to be obstacles rather than enablers. In particular, employees who are tasked with organizing "virtual" conferences and meetings of geographically dispersed teams have a bunch of horror stories to tell about what can go wrong in the process. The good news is that all it takes to overcome these difficulties is a FUJITSU mini PC loaded with Intel's Unite™ software and devices equipped with the proper app.

From the original Star Trek series to modern superhero movies of the Avengers type, one small attribute will almost immediately expose them as fantasies: the main characters rarely seem to encounter technical troubles with communication. Whether on the bridge of the Enterprise or aboard the superhero team's Helicarrier, they'll always have clear reception, and whether Mr. Spock's been beamed to a distant planet or Iron Man's taking his new suit for a test flight, they'll always be able to connect using the devices at hand. In our real world, however, this isn't quite as easy, since both the platform used at companies' headquarters and the mobile devices used in the field will often fail to sync properly even if they do connect – as anyone who regularly attends virtual conferences and team meetings will be able to tell. That's why long-term partners Intel and Fujitsu have started an initiative for smarter conference rooms that enable smarter, more effective meetings, but at the same time need minimal equipment and are thus easy to set up and operate. The idea was to use a mini PC equipped with an Intel® Core™ vPro processor that serves as a 'meeting hub' and a set of client devices running the matching app. Our new joint solution therefore relies on two building blocks: Fujitsu's mini PC ESPRIMO Q920, which is now available in a task-optimized version named ESPRIMO Q920/MRE (for: "Meeting Room Edition"), and Intel's Unite™ software suite.

FUJITSU ESPRIMO Q920/MRE
As you will easily realize, the basic approach is relatively broad, allowing any mini PC that's powered by an Intel® Core™ processor with vPro technology to run the Unite™ software. Needless to say, this description applies to a multitude of hardware platforms of different quality. That's why we at Fujitsu decided to make a difference and pair it with the ESPRIMO Q920, a model from our superior line of mini desktops. The resulting product, named ESPRIMO Q920/MRE, offers various advantages over competing models and thus qualifies as the platform of choice for Unite™ installations, namely because

  • It's energy-efficient – the new model's PSU delivers 65 watts with up to 90% efficiency at a 50% load, meaning that only 10% of the electricity drawn are wasted on heat dissipation. As a result, the ESPRIMO Q920/MRE will eat up significantly less power than previous solutions, thus helping to cut electricity bills and TCO.
  • It's ultra-quiet – standard noise emissions amount to a maximum of 17 dB(A) in regular usage scenarios – that's less than what you will hear in a silent room and just above the level of whispering leaves. In other words, the ESPRIMO Q920/MRE will be virtually "unheard of," and no noises will disturb or disrupt future meetings.
  • It's reliable and stable – the basic layout of the unit omits all unnecessary components and practically eliminates the use of dongles and extra cabling. As a result, the ESPRIMO Q920/MRE is less susceptible to component failures, and unavoidable maintenance tasks may be easily carried out either remotely or on site. And of course, the device saves space.

Furthermore, the utilization of Intel's vPro technology provides a host of security features and enhanced management capabilities, among them threat and malware protection, support for encrypted wired and wireless communication, remote system monitoring etc. In essence, all specifications combined arguably turn the FUJITSU ESPRIMO Q920/MRE into one of the most adequate – if not the best – hardware platforms for Intel's collaboration solution.

Intel® Unite™ Software
Intel® Unite™ software is a set of communication and collaboration tools designed to set up secure, connected meeting spaces. The idea was to swiftly bring together employees regardless of where they are (e.g. in the same conference room or halfway around the world) so they can have truly interactive, successful discussions that have a positive impact on business decisions. Essentially, what they get is a software-defined collaboration infrastructure that makes the most of vPro processors' innovative wireless capabilities, strong security features and leading-edge performance. That way, companies can now set up a 'smart' conference room literally from scratch and with minimal effortIntel® Unite™ offers all the functionalities that are needed to connect people in real time as well as to manage and protect devices and communication processes. More specifically, it

  • Automatically connects attendees to new or existing displays, projectors, and interactive whiteboards, regardless of whether they use wired or wireless devices. IT teams and conference moderators no longer have to spend precious time looking for the right adapter or dongle, and meetings can start in no time flat.
  • Brings together participants from any location so they may view, annotate, and share documents reliably and without delay. And once a meeting ends, attendees can distribute content using the built-in file transfer feature.
  • Enables fast and simple peer-to-peer sharing of screen content as well as a smooth and swift handover between different presenters and moderators.
  • Easily integrates into existing networks and infrastructures, allowing IT teams and moderators to use their established management tools and policies. Moreover, Intel® Unite™ keeps out the uninvited, as it will act as a PIN server that delivers rotating PIN codes only to authorized users and encrypts all data traffic flowing across the conference room using 256-bit SSL. At the same time, it's possible to selectively invite outside guests for key parts of a discussion and have them join an organization's network or simply use Unite's communication features without this extra step. And finally, network admins can leverage Unite and vPro technologies to carry out remote management tasks such as patching or small system repairs.

All things considered, Intel® Unite™ software brings enterprise-grade communication and collaboration capabilities to small and medium businesses (SMBs) while only requiring minimal hardware investments and/or technical and organizational integration efforts.

Client Devices
As noted above, users need a Unite™ app to connect to and participate in meetings. At this point, the app will install and run on all desktops or mobile devices (including tablets) that have an up-to-date version of Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 (alternatively Mac OS X) pre-installed. Support for Android- and iOS-based devices will be added at a later date. Moreover, several plug-ins help clients connect using their familiar collaboration solutions, e.g. from vendors like Cisco.

Conclusion
The combination of Fujitsu's ESPRIMO Q920/MRE and Intel's Unite™ software is a solid contender for the top spot among communication, collaboration and meeting room solutions for SMBs. Customers and channel partners warmly welcomed it at this year's Fujitsu Forum, commending in equal parts its simplicity and affordability. (An enterprise version is also available, but requires an extra server running Windows SQL Server 2008 and IIS.)

 
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