Buyer’s Tips: KVM Switching Systems

What are the most important elements to look for when buying KVM switches?

IT managers need to consider video type and resolution. What type of USB devices will by connected—HID devices such as keyboards and mice? If specialized keyboards are required, the KVM switch must be able to pass the proper emulation to CPUs. Another question to ask is whether you need audio, microphone and speakers.

The types of computers you would like to use with the KVM switch, and how they connect (DVI, VGA, PS/2, USB, audio, etc.) are important elements. Knowing the types of computers you plan on buying in the next five years helps you choose a switch to future-proof your investment. When looking at KVM switches, think about how many more computers/servers you plan on adding in the upcoming months and years. You don’t want to fully populate a KVM switch right away and discover you have to get the next size up or find a completely different solution. Also consider how far away the computers/servers/users will be from the centralized KVM switch. If any system/user will be farther than 15 feet, consider using a CATx-based solution where all computers/users will be interconnected via standard CAT5, CAT5e, or CAT6. Suppliers need to ask these questions to the end client to figure out what they really need and try to suggest options that would potentially save them money down the line.

What are the most common options available, and how do you decide which option is best?

ServSwitch Freedom

Desktop KVM switches have the most common options. The market supports many systems from numerous manufacturers; however the switches do not all operate the same way. The most difficult thing to understand when looking at these types of switches is the difference in price between various four-port desktop switches. Prices can range from $60 all the way up to $450. When looking at these types of options and trying to compare the price difference, you will begin to notice major items that may not be immediately identified. Some of the major differences between these types of switches are the way video is supported, having a built-in EDID channel, or the ability to program your own channels. Programming your own EDID channel in a lower-end switch, you can easily encounter KVM switches that will not render the video correctly (e.g. shifted video, horizontal/vertical bars, no video/no signal, etc.). Between these two types of switches, you will also need to identify the type of USB operation the application requires. The $60 KVM switch may only support USB HID keyboards and mice, and if you try to plug in a USB flash drive, external storage device, or any other type of USB 2.0 device, it won’t function. On the other hand, the $450 KVM switch should offer the full USB spectrum functionality, and may even support true USB emulation.

See also the post on the three most common purchasing mistakes made when buying KVM switches.

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5 Reasons why you should be using digital signage

Digital signage can boost sales, communicates with your audiences, and enhance the overall image of your company, facility, or organization. Here are five reasons to invest now:

1. Build visibility that translates into sales and brand loyalty.
Studies show increased information equals increased sales. Digital signage helps you enliven your presentation of information so it’s noticeable and memorable. Create brand awareness in and outside your business, at trade shows, in transportation hubs, or along a commercial thoroughfare. Accentuate your value proposition and how you differ from your competition. Highlight special prices, upsell and cross-sell products and services, and drive purchase shifts that, in turn, give you margins. And keep them coming back for more. It’s all about building relationships for the long term, not just using discounts and other promotions to move products off shelves. Done right, digital signage enables you to create a truly branded experience, an emotional bond between you and customers.

2. Manage, fine-tune displays for current and relevant marketing.
Posters, flyers, and other static signage and collateral can take hours or even days to replace. Digital signage, however, enables you to easily add, remove, and refine content—often in a matter of seconds. Stream information in real-time, mix it with recorded media and boilerplate, and tailor it to who’s on hand, the time of day, and even local weather conditions. It’s advertising that’s more intelligent and intent on pleasing the individual, not a wide swath of “consumers.” The flexibility enables you to fashion multimedia presentations for specific demographics. Studies of customer buying habits find that most buying decisions are made at the point of sale. Don’t squander the opportunity with a paper sign, not when you can drive impulse buys with compelling, dazzling digital signage.

3. Scale the message to match the venue and your imagination.
Whether you’re indoors or out, in bustling nightspots, in a strip mall suite, or staid government corridors, you’ll find a digital signage solution that suits your space, clientele, and the image you want to project. Large, established corporations can use interactive kiosks to connect with customers on a more personal level. Small, growing firms can use large screens to cast themselves as major players—even on a limited budget. Plasma and LCDs are coming down in price, and new turnkey solutions make it easy to deploy professional-looking signage no matter the scale: on small monitors in small foyers, on video walls in wide airport concourses, or on bright LED billboards that illuminate in the night.

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Efficiently manage multiple KVMoIP devices

When controlling larger groups of dispersed computers using numerous KVMoIP devices, the major challenge becomes one of management—How do you keep active control over a complex mix of devices, host computers, and registered users?

One software solution to rule them all
Wizard.NET is a professional enterprise management suite that delivers total IP device control, management, and connectivity. KVM over IP (KVMoIP) devices provide the ability to control large numbers of host computers from remote locations. Wizard.NET was developed as a common interface to help you remotely manage any number of KVMoIP devices together with all of their connected host computers and the access rights of the users.

Wizard.NET is delivered as a software solution only, and operates as a server application running on a system that can be completely separate from any of the KVMoIP devices—it merely requires an IP network or Internet connection. Wizard.NET uses an intuitive HTML user interface, which means that registered users can access and control it remotely using a standard Web browser. Like all Wizard KVMoIP products, Wizard.NET employs high specification security techniques to ensure that only authorized users may gain access.

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