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GCN : February 2013
34 GCN FEBRUARY 2013 • GCN.COM IMAGINE BEING OUT shop- ping and suddenly remem- bering something you forgot todoatwork.Soyoupluga small device into any TV in a big box store, and suddenly your commandeered set gives you access to your govern- ment o ce desktop. Grab a keyboard and mouse, and you can check e-mail, surf the Internet and finish a PowerPoint presenta- tion. When you remove the device, the set immediately goes back to being a TV on display. Best of all, no agency data has left the o ce. It sounds like science fiction, but that s the idea behind Dell s new Project Ophelia thin client device, which Dell calls a Cloud Key. Je McNaught, executive director of marketing and chief strategy o cer for Dell Cloud Client Computing, explained that Ophelia "will connect to any HDMI port, meaning there are over 250 million displays that work with the Cloud Key right now," he said. "It gets power from the display, and then uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to connect to your external devices, like a keyboard or mouse." In terms of hardware, Ophelia is unique in that it s designed to plug into an HDMI port. McNaught said a USB-based key is in the works as well, but the first units will be all HDMI. Still, the back of Ophelia has two USB ports, so devices can be attached the old fashioned way too. Everything the key needs in terms of software, it can acquire in the cloud. The device can grant net- work access to systems run- ning any support software, including those from Micro- soft, Citrix or VMware. Or it can create a virtual private network tunnel to an indi- vidual user s o ce desktop if it s so configured. Ophelia supports full, rich sound and can connect to external speakers or head- phones. It also can display full HD video with no loss of quality. For o ce IT administra- tors, every Ophelia key can be managed through the Dell Wyse Cloud Client Manager Software, which will be dis- tributed free with the device. The admin software will provide complete control over the applications the cloud keys can run and also enable real-time monitoring of their users and locations. In terms of security, the device is completely stateless. No data is stored locally so if a Cloud Key is lost or stolen, there s no data to recover. Ophelia can generate us- age and policy compliance reports. And users will have a section in the software where they can manage their individual keys, too. And of course, logging in requires a lock-type numerical password in addition to whatever is needed to gain access to a network. Because half of Dell Wyse revenue comes from the pub- lic sector, Ophelia was created to address those markets, McNaught said. Client requests included creating inexpensive comput- ers that could be transported securely without the risk of data being lost or stolen, a way to provide Internet ac- cess without the need for a full computer, and eliminat- ing cables and reducing the footprint computers take up for employees. Ophelia is just a code word used by Dell and its subsid- iary Wyse while making the device. When it goes on sale later this year --- the exact date has yet to be decided --- it will have a new name, per- haps even the more generic Cloud Key. Although the price has yet to be determined, McNaught said that it will be "well under $100." • FUTURE OF REMOTE COMPUTING? DELL TURNS TV INTO A THIN CLIENT DEVICE BY JOHN BREEDEN II EMERGING TECH Plugging Dell's new Project Ophelia thin client device into any TV gives users safe access to their office desktops. DELL