Desktop Blades for Health

By Rob Enderle  |  Posted 2004-04-27 Print this article Print

Care"> Having been a security auditor myself, I dont envy the administrator having to come up with that defense. And that problem is a major reason for the multilayer security being built into the newest generation of tablets targeting the health-care market.

Its also part of the reason that the health-care industry likes desktop blades. Not only are they are secure, but they are vastly cheaper than desktop computers.

Now, this isnt just one of those screwy total cost of ownership things—it is directly connected to the work that is done. Under current disease containment guidelines, if a contagious patent is taken into a room with a PC, that PC must be disposed of when that patient leaves.
This is because the PC sucks stuff into what is often a warm environment and blows it back out, possibly infecting the next person to use that room. There is no effective way to scrub the insides of the PC down, so it must be discarded as hazardous waste.

On the other hand, because the part of the blade that exists in the room can be sealed, it can be wiped down without replacement. And even if it did need to be replaced, it is relatively inexpensive since the desktop blade itself remains safe in a remote location.

But the desktop blade, much like a desktop computer, isnt portable and doesnt do forms or signatures well. For those that have used tablet PCs, it is a big step backwards in terms of functionality, even if its a huge step forward in terms of disease containment and security.

It seems to me that an ideal solution would be one that wedded the advantages of a blade to the advantages of a tablet. If it were not for wireless computing, we probably couldnt get there.

But with Wi-Fi, particularly at the faster data rates of 802.11g or 802.11a, a portable client for the desktop blade could be created. However, using a full tablet would be too expensive. And you really dont need the hard drive or a full desktop processor, given all of the real work is going on at the desktop blade.

Using a special handheld computer, wirelessly connected to a Desktop Blade, would dramatically reduce both the cost of the implementation and the sacrifices of the two platforms to create a solution that could come very close to encompassing the benefits of both. Remember the wireless monitor initiative that didnt do particularly well? It could actually fill a need here.

Strangely enough, one of the places PalmOne has been successful with their Tungsten line has been health care, which suggests that this market is already warming to this solution. The question is: Who is going to get there first?

Before I leave you, Id like to share one discovery I made while getting my stuff together for the Business4Site conference: The people putting the conference on are the same folks I used to work with at Giga Information Group. And there, at one time, we put on one heck of a conference. If you can make it, Id love to see you at Business4Site and Ill try to answer the question, among others, I just raised at the end of this column.

Rob Enderle is the principal analyst for the Enderle Group, a company specializing in emerging personal technology. Check out eWEEKs Desktop & Notebook Center at for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

Rob Enderle Rob Enderle Enderle Group 389 Photinia Lane San Jose, CA 95127

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