By Charles King, Pund-IT® April 5, 2023
Commercial client PCs, laptops, 2-in-1s and All-In-Ones (AIOs) have improved and revolutionized modern businesses and industries. As a result of their adoption and deployment, these devices helped organizations vastly enhance productivity and performance and enabled them to explore new markets and business opportunities.
Perhaps most importantly, client technologies helped companies flexibly adjust to the unexpected tumult of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to continue delivering the goods and services their customers and partners depend on even while substantial numbers of employees worked remotely. That technology-inspired flexibility also led to sometimes subtle, sometimes stark cultural adjustments for many organizations, resulting in the permanent adoption of working from home (WFH) and similar processes.
Supporting these elemental changes and helping customers consider other flexible work strategies and functions is evident in the new Latitude, Precision and OptiPlex client solutions announced recently by Dell. Let’s consider the announcement more closely.
Work is not one-size-fits-all
It is important to acknowledge that WFH and is not a panacea or even possible for many positions. As we learned during the pandemic, many service workers from hospital and emergency room staff to drive-thru restaurant cooks and clerks had to be on the job, often at substantial risk. However, a wide range of office tasks and positions could be performed with little if any negative impact by employees working remotely fulltime or in flexible/hybrid models that allowed them to minimize their time in crowded offices.
How client solutions can help enable remote/hybrid work to succeed hinges on a number of points:
- Flexible – While there are many workers and work processes that require specialized solutions or specific performance features, the vast majority of office tasks can be performed with general purpose client solutions. That said, those devices must also be capable of supporting the video and audio collaboration and other productivity functions that became commonplace over the past three years. They must also fit the needs of workers who prefer or need to be mobile, moving from place to place or room to room.
- Effectively easy – Client devices must also be easy to deploy, use, manage and maintain. Having IT staff to help WFH employees is logistically difficult and financially unsupportable in large organizations. As a result, client devices should also support automated or remote diagnostics, updates and repairs.
- Secure – Having substantial numbers of employees away from the office highlighted the crucial importance and value of robust device security. In essence, any laptop or 2-in-1 capable of accessing workplace networks is a potential vector for intrusion. WFH effectively expanded workplace perimeters and, thus, the potential for cyberattacks. Robust security is now a “must-have” not a “nice-to-have.”
It is also worth noting that many or most employees also appreciate stylish or aesthetically pleasing devices. That has evolved over time due to a number of factors, including the original bring your own device (BYOD) trends in the early 2000s to the massive popularity and spread of smartphones during the past decade. In any case, the days of “beige box” PCs are long gone.
Dell’s new client lineup
How do Dell’s new Latitude, Precision and Optiplex solutions reflect and embody these points?
- Designed for executives, salespeople and consultants, the new ultra-premium Latitude 9440 incorporates new design points and features, including a customizable haptic touchpad that incorporates controls for video/audio collaboration. Along with the latest 13th gen Intel Core CPUs, the 9440 features a zero-lattice miniLED backlit keyboard that uses 75 percent less power than previous designs. Dell notes that the 9440 offers up to three more hours of battery life, and the system features a 14-inch QHD+ Infinity Edge display. The new Latitude 7340/7440 Ultralights (13.3-inch/14-inch) weigh in at around one kilogram and offer a 16:10 display with 5MP camera. A new blue/gray “river” color option offers the Ultralights a premium, modern look.
- Dell says the new Precision 5680has the world’s smallest footprint for a 16-inch workstation, enhancing its portability while supporting powerful performance and immersive experiences for creators and engineers. The 5680 can be configured with up to Intel Core i9 (45W) CPU and up to 64GB of DDR5 memory. The new solution also offers NVIDIA’s RTX 5000 Ada Generation Laptop GPU. Other features include a haptic trackpad for enhanced feedback, up to UHD+ PremierColor 16:10, three-sided InfinityEdge display, four grade A audio speakers and ambient light sensors.
- Along with new Intel 13th gen Core CPUs, Dell has fundamentally changed the way that customers buy and support its OptiPlex Rather than being segmented by series or model numbers, customers will see a single OptiPlex model and follow a simple two-step process to choose the right form factor and best features for the job. Dell has also added members to the OptiPlex family, including a newly designed 24-inch All-in-One featuring up to Intel Core i9 processors, 64GB DDR5 memory and a retractable FHD or 5MP IR camera, a new OptiPlex Micro which offers maximum productivity in an ultra-compact size, a refreshed Small Form Factor system with up to Intel Core i9 processors and 128GB DDR5 memory and a new OptiPlex Tower with up to i9 125W CPUs, high-end NVIDIA GPUs and up to 128GB DDR5 memory. Customers can also order OptiPlex systems with Intel vPro CPUs for enhanced manageability.
Along with its new and updated client solutions Dell also introduced a new QHD UltraSharp 49 Curved USB-C Hub Monitor with features, including the ability to be split into two 27-inch partitions without a bezel in between. The company also added features to its Dell Optimizer management application, and added echo cancelling to its commercial client audio systems. Finally, the new Latitude, Precision and OptiPlex offerings also highlight Dell’s proactive efforts in sustainable design and manufacturing, security services and solutions and data/device management.
What is the bottom line on Dell’s new and refreshed commercial client solutions? First and foremost, that the company continues to press forward in adding new features and functions to its portfolio designed to enhance worker productivity and collaboration and organizational performance. Just as importantly, those features and functions are sparked both by Dell’s design and development teams and the company’s close interactions with customers.
The point is not to simply roll out updated client devices featuring Intel’s latest CPUs. The larger and more important issue is recognizing that working and workplaces are continually evolving to the point that prior generation laptops, desktops, workstations and peripherals can actually hinder business outcomes rather than improve or accelerate them.
The latest additions to the Latitude, OptiPlex and Precision portfolios show that Dell Technologies understands that point in full and is dedicated to supporting its business customers and their employees wherever and however they work.
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