A New ‘Hyper’ Twist in Remote PC Management

Desktop and mobile PCs are slated to be outfitted later this year with a
new kind of remote PC support that’s always available.

Built on Phoenix Techologies’ HyperSpace platform, the PC management
solution is designed to let IT and tech support personnel address problems
even while the PC is operating and users are running productivity apps.

“You can access, tune and maintain the machine remotely while it’s being
used,” Phoenix CEO Woody Hobbs told InternetNews.com. “This is like
full remote management as if the tech is looking over your shoulder.”

Phoenix, a longtime provider of
firmware
for PC makers, is teaming up with SupportSoft to provide the remote support solution which will be delivered as a
Software as a Service .

Phoenix said its HyperSpace platform
hosts instant-on applications before, during and after Windows boots up and
shuts down. HyperSpace runs independent of Windows or other operating
system, so it’s available to remote tech support even if Windows crashes.

HyperSpace is driven by “HyperCore,” Phoenix’s virtualization platform
that lets an independent, Linux-based operating system run alongside Windows.
Hobbs said users should not expect any noticeable performance hit while
running HyperSpace.

Brian Gammage, a research fellow in client computing at Gartner, said
developments like HyperSpace are the beginning of a new wave of software
appliances.

“By adopting an appliance approach, individual functions, such
as firewalls, asset management, TV recorders or media players, will be
delivered as separate modules that run alongside, rather than on top of, the
standard PC OS,” said Gammage in a statement. “Software appliances will
become a major PC development platform, rivaling OS integration as a major
focus of PC industry R&D efforts for targeted security and management
functions.”

Hobbs positioned HyperSpace as a technology that will help PC makers,
particularly mobile computing vendors, distinguish their products and give them a
valued-added revenue stream. The remote service capabilities might be priced
on a per service basis or monthly or annual subscription.

“We might even
get to the point it’s more like the cell phone, where the cost of the PC is
negligible, but you pay for the service contract,” he said, adding he also
expects interest from enterprise customers in the service.

“Absolutely in the mobile area,” he said. “That’s where you have the
worst problems and it always seems to be when you’re nowhere near IT for
support.”

Roger Kay, analyst with Endpoint Technologies, has seen demos of HyperSpace
and thinks Phoenix is on to something.

“My experience with Vista
has been that the security is cumbersome,” Kay told InternetNews.com.
“Phoenix has taken a fresh look at things and brought in a SaaS approach and
new technology that I think could make support a lot easier.”

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