2012 Galleries

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Galleries // 2012 Spark:Product // Zero Technologies Computer System

Zero Technologies Computer System

Winner - Bronze

Competition: Spark:Product
Designer: Mr. Dan Harden - President/CEO
Design Type: Computers

ZERO is a new type of server-based computer system designed to replace corporate desktop PC’s. Called a “ZeroClient”, it is a minimal hardware only device, containing no software, no operating system, no CPU, no memory, and no moving parts. It only consumes 10% of the energy of a traditional desktop computer. The system is comprised of a display, keyboard, mouse and a ZERO box which is above and behind the display, attached to the top of the display column. All cords plug into ZERO and it plugs into a central server. Moving all software off the desktop to the server using “server virtualization”, ZERO delivers not only a complete Windows experience, but it requires zero maintenance and has no security risks Our primary challenge was to rethink the desktop computing model because desktop PC’s are complex stacks of multiple hardware components, operating systems, and applications that use lots of energy to run. PC’s are also susceptible to security problems. Buying, running, and maintaining this hardware, software and security is expensive, especially in large businesses with hundreds of computers. Our challenge was to find a better way partly by using server based virtualization technology to the desktop. It promised to reduce set-up hassle, reduce hardware complexity and size, reduce security risks, reduce energy consumption, and reduce cost. Our secondary challenge was to establish a wholly owned Middle Eastern start-up company, Zero Technologies, by creating and developing a unique, new, innovative computer system. We chose design and innovation over oil. > ZERO represents an innovative new form factor for a computer system. It is not only different in how it works but also in how it looks. The strong red aluminum column places the ZERO box at the very top, peaking over your display. This unique placement not only celebrates this new technology but it also improves cable management. All cables plug into the bottom of the ZERO box and run through the column. The ZERO box can be separated from the column and used as a standalone zero client device. > ZERO consumes only 20 watts of power, which is only 20% of a typical PC, plus it is smaller with less material consumed. > ZERO is used like a desktop PC, but because it accesses a server, productivity is greatly increased, with no downtime. IT personnel never need to visit the end users station. We wanted the design to enhance these simplicity and productivity advantages, so the system is as simple as possible. > By moving all software off the desktop and onto the server, ZERO reduces desktop cost by 50 percent. It requires no software updates (done centrally), and visits to the desktop endpoint by IT personnel are eliminated. CONCLUSION: ZERO could be called “transcendant innovation”. Everything about it is visionary and radically different, making people think about computers in a new way. It pushes the bar way out. But its innovation is down to earth – it is lean, clean, and responsible – a sustainable vision of the future.