The Not-Too-Thin-For-VoIP Client

NEC has come out with some new thin clients which offer an interesting twist to the paradigm. Using it’s own NetClient system-on-a-chip solution one of the interesting features it can offer is IP Telephony.

The solution uses VMware’s virtualization software to create a virtual Windows PC environment for each user on the server, rather than more traditional shared user space found in other thin client solutions.

As usual, the processing is done on the server with only the screen handled at the client end. The virtualisation technology gives the user a full Windows environment feel to their client, says the company.

Apart from offering a high level of video processing quality at the client end, the new systems offer IP telephones in a comparatively small footprint. The server load for VoIP is not carried by the computing server but is off-load to a dedicated telephony server which even allows voice and video to be transmitted directly between clients.

NEC has had to ensure a higher level of audio and voice quality to get this to work, but is pretty upfront about its expectations for the new system. It’s planning on selling the equivalent of US$1.25B worth of the thin client solutions over the next three years.

Using the US100 clients instead of a regular desktop should also yield a significant reduction in power usage with a 20 user system expected to use less than 40% of the power an equivalent client/server system would.

The clients are just palm-sized devices (15.5×10.4×3.4cm) which can even be mounted behind the LCD.

A version of the thin client hardware, to be made available only in Japan (at this stage) is in a notebook form factor.

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