Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) firms are in a unique position in the world of business. They merge artistic creativity with technical proficiency, and their projects touch millions of lives. As such, the IT needs for these firms are unlike any other. Enter IronOrbit GPU-accelerated INFINITY Workspaces – a platform that directly addresses and resolves these specialized requirements.
1. What are IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces?
IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces, for those unfamiliar, is a turn-key Managed Desktop as a service (DaaS) solution designed to facilitate seamless collaboration, ensure data security, and enable scalable IT infrastructure. At its core, it offers a platform that centralizes the myriad of software applications, data sources, and collaboration tools that AEC professionals rely on.
2. Scalable Infrastructure
AEC projects can range from small home renovations to grand-scale infrastructures like airports. Accordingly, IT demand can surge or decline rapidly. IronOrbit offers scalability that ensures firms only pay for the resources they use, allowing them to expand or contract based on project needs. This flexibility is essential to keep costs in check while ensuring that the IT infrastructure can handle the demands of large-scale projects.
3. Seamless Collaboration
Collaboration is a cornerstone for AEC projects. Various professionals – architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, and more – need to share their insights and expertise. With INFINITY Workspaces, real-time collaboration is facilitated, whether team members are in the same office or spread across the globe. The shared workspace offers a cohesive environment where 3D models, blueprints, and documents can be viewed and edited collectively, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
4. Data Security and Compliance
Protecting sensitive data is of paramount importance. INFINITY Workspaces provides state-of-the-art encryption and security protocols, ensuring that project data, client information, and proprietary designs remain confidential. Furthermore, for AEC firms that operate internationally, the platform assures compliance with various regional data protection regulations, alleviating potential legal concerns.
5. Streamlined Software Integration
AEC professionals use various graphic-intensive applications, from Revit and AutoCAD software to project management applications. INFINITY Workspaces enable integration of these tools, ensuring that users don’t have to hop between different platforms to get their work done. This integration increases efficiency, reduces the potential for errors, and ensures a more cohesive workflow.
6. Remote Accessibility
Modern AEC firms often operate in a decentralized manner. Whether it’s architects who need to visit sites, engineers who are on the move, or consultants from different regions, remote access to the workspace is crucial. IronOrbit ensures that the digital environment is centralized and accessible from any device, anywhere, at any time. This ensures continuity of work, regardless of physical location.
7. IT Maintenance and Support
One of the most significant challenges faced by AEC firms, especially smaller ones, is the need for regular IT maintenance and support. IronOrbit provides 24/7 support, ensuring that any technical issues are swiftly addressed. We partner with your IT teams to manage your infrastructure and day-to-day operations allowing you to focus on the big picture.
8. Environmental Sustainability
In an era where sustainability is more than just a buzzword, AEC firms are often at the forefront of sustainable design and construction. IronOrbit echoes this sentiment by offering a cloud-based solution. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with maintaining in-house servers and hardware. By choosing Infinity Workspaces, AEC firms can further their commitment to environmental responsibility.
The AEC industry is in a constant state of evolution, driven by technology, sustainability, and shifting client needs. To stay competitive and effective, firms must ensure their IT solutions are top-notch. IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces address the unique challenges faced by the AEC sector, offering a solution that is flexible, secure, collaborative, and sustainable. In an industry that builds the future, it’s only fitting that their digital tools are equally futuristic.
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Digitization and climate change are both hot topics. The two subjects are also getting used together in the same sentence more frequently. For example, did you know digitization is good for reducing carbon emissions? According to the World Economic Forum, Digital technologies have the potential to reduce global emissions by 15%.
Since the pandemic lockdown, people have been working from home. The workforce has been slow in returning to the corporate office setting. An IFS survey conducted last year reports that almost three-quarters of respondents plan to increase spending on digital transformation. The climate control benefits include a reduction of CO2 emissions due to less commuting and travel to in-person meetings. Technologies like Microsoft Teams have made multi-site team meetings easy and readily available.
Cloud migration is the price of admission to competing in the digital world.
Moving your IT environment to the cloud reduces the need for additional hardware, but more importantly, to your bottom line and the environment, cloud migration modernizes your operations. While being on the cloud, and using robust cloud-enabled services like IronOrbit’s INFINITY Workspaces, won’t make your business carbon neutral, it is a significant first step on that journey.
How You Can Reduce the Environmental Impact on Doing Business
Hardware casings, cords, adaptors, and other electrical products are called E-waste. E-waste is a growing problem. Significant environmental damage happens because nature cannot absorb these products. E-Waste is a significant contributor to the haphazard disposal of old electronics: they’re inert. All E-Waste products contain hazardous materials of one kind or another. The toxic materials are predominantly lead and mercury.
By switching to IronOrbit’s cloud, you can reduce the amount of hardware because you no longer need to invest in so many on-site computer stations. There’s no need to pay for its maintenance or replace machinery when it becomes obsolete. Instead, you only pay for the exact services you need. Over time, this saves you money. Cloud computing can help your company become sustainable while making it more profitable and productive.
Reducing Needless Travel Reduces Carbon Emissions
INFINITY Workspaces is our brand of DaaS, robust technology that enables employees to work remotely with ease. There are different INFINITY packages to fit specific use cases. Even designers and engineers can access the most demanding modern applications on their mobile devices. INFINITY Workspaces empowers Geographically dispersed teams to do their best work. The technology inspires productivity while eliminating the need for lengthy commutes. It also eliminates the carbon emissions associated with daily commutes.
Adopting a work-from-home environment or even a hybrid workplace is an excellent way to reduce your business’s carbon footprint. You could also save some money in the process.
Shared Data Centers Reduce Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)
On-premises servers and data centers use substantial amounts of energy both for running and cooling. The manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of the hardware and peripheral products also add to GHG emissions. Companies can reduce emissions considerably by moving to a cloud computing environment. Once a company moves to the cloud, they use shared data centers. Like the ones operated by IronOrbit, shared data centers run far more efficiently than individual facilities or on-premises servers. There is no longer a need for personal equipment.
A recent forecast by the International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that cloud computing will prevent the emission of more than one billion metric tons of CO2 between 2021 and 2024. Moving away from legacy software and hardware and towards cloud adoption is a logical next step for companies. Insofar as business continuity and investment in the future, cloud migration is a necessity.
Cloud computing and all the digital benefits of having your IT infrastructure on the cloud are valuable for IT departments. IT departments can work more closely with business leaders to develop new sustainability goals. It is favorable for companies, and of course, it contributes to a healthier environment.
Contact us for a no-obligation proof of concept. We’re here to help.
If there was a silver lining to the COVID pandemic, it exposed vulnerabilities in the way companies operate their business. As lockdowns and work-from-home orders spread across the country, companies scrambled for their employees to effectively work remotely.
MSA Professional Services, a 350-employee-owned civil engineering and environmental firm located across four states, was one such company. You might see their work as you drive past a park, a reservoir, or a public activity center. Satellites orbiting Earth record the environmental and community impact of their thoughtfully designed works from outer space.
MSA’s work requires real-time collaboration with project managers or contractors in the field. Management has known that conventional application delivery and desktop management technologies wouldn’t keep up with growing demands.
Months before anyone had even heard of COVID-19, the MSA leadership was looking at the best way for them to migrate their IT environment to the cloud. Like sculptors chiseling away at a block of marble, the process began to reveal what the right cloud design should look like. Leadership knew they needed control of their information. They needed their data to be secure, and, perhaps most importantly, their engineers needed to work on heavy-duty 2D and 3D files on resource-hungry applications from home.
IronOrbit solved the problems of end-user performance with GPU-Accelerated INFINITY Workspaces. Whether it’s fifty users or a thousand, engineers enjoy an even better and more highly responsive experience than they’d get from a high-end physical workstation. Since scalability is built into the design, MSA found that adding or subtracting users was not an issue.
SUPERIOR TECHNOLOGY RESULTS IN A SUPERIOR SERVICE
An essential aspect of IronOrbit’s delivery of high performance at scale is the use of NVIDIA RTX™ Technology, powering the most demanding design, rendering, and engineering workloads from the cloud . This technology delivers rapid deployments of virtual applications and workspaces. MSA engineers can view and work with large 2D and 3D models with efficiency and increased productivity.
“WE NEED MORE CONTROL & SECURITY” – MSA Leadership
As these specific requirements came into focus, it narrowed their field of view as they considered different cloud service providers. Because of the level of control they wanted, together with the necessity for tight security, they knew they were looking for a private cloud approach.
But not just any private cloud.
The delivery of services from the end user’s perspective had to be fast and seamless with no latency or drag of any kind. There’s nothing worse for a designer or engineer than working on a modern app like AutoCAD or Revit, being in the home stretch of finalizing a project, and having to deal with jumpy, erratic responses from a mouse or a stylus pen.
…AND ONE MORE THING
To make the challenge even more interesting, many engineers live in rural areas with sub-standard internet connections.
Senior Systems Engineer Mike Albitz led a series of proof-of-concept drills with IronOrbit’s INFINITY Workspaces when the pandemic erupted. “When the pandemic broke out, it escalated the whole process,” said Albitz. “When COVID-19 started, we were able to provide latency-free desktops to our engineers with slow home Internet connections using IronOrbit. This was an invaluable option to keep our teams productive.”
CLOSE COLLABORATION WITH CLIENTS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
During the process of moving to the cloud, there will be technical challenges that pop up from time to time. The key is to address them as quickly as possible. This requires close communication and transparency. Built on a genuine commitment to customer service, IronOrbit onboarding teams maintain a high-touch with clients throughout the process and beyond.
Good luck getting an actual person to answer a question if you’re using a public cloud. Close client support isn’t part of their “do-it-yourself on our platform” business model.
This may be true of other private cloud companies as well, but not with IronOrbit.
For us, the standard is one-on-one human contact availability 24/7.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
It’s important to know that public cloud providers do not come standard with recovery time objectives (RTO) or recovery point objectives (RPO). It’s an add-on cost. With public cloud services, many features will fall under the category of an add-on cost.
IronOrbit offers comprehensive packages for predictable monthly fees, including standard 48-hour RTO and 24-hour RPO.
STRATEGY LEADS TECHNOLOGY (CONCLUSION)
MSA leadership was ahead of the pack going into 2020, and they’re still leading the way in the industry. They knew that they wanted to move into the cloud, and they realized that it had to be a high-impact, custom cloud and hosted desktop solution designed with AEC processes in mind.
The IronOrbit team applauds the long-term vision of the MSA leadership. They anticipated their need for better application hosting solutions and embraced the future of AEC cloud computing – INFINITY Workspaces. MSA put the focus in the right place. They explored technology based on their business operations and growth objectives.
What about you?
How well are your designers and engineers doing with off-the-shelf work-from-home solutions?
Have you gotten into a cloud environment that hasn’t been architected specifically for GPU-heavy workloads?
Let us give you a virtual tour of the INFINITY Workstation and discover what go-anywhere design efficiency combined with granular control and security can do for your business.
Call us at 1-888-753-5060 for your free consultation today.
It’s hard to imagine how things will be a year from now. What will consumer behavior be like? Will the stay-at-home economy change once social distancing eases? If so, how much? Imagine what it was like for all those companies, once the pandemic struck and the lockdowns began, that had to quickly rely more heavily on whatever technology they had or had access to.
MSA Professional Services, an environmental architecture firm comprised of over 300 engineers, architects, and environmental specialists, had been on the cloud for years, but their engineers and architects lived in rural areas and couldn’t use their GPU apps remotely. There would be so much lag time and mouse jitter that the whole process just became frustrating.
According to the FCC, 39% of Rural Populations Lack Access to High-Speed Broadband
Once they moved to IronOrbit’s GPU-Accelerated INFINITY Workspaces, they discovered there was nothing they couldn’t do with their modern apps like Revit, Civil 3D, and Autocad. The performance was actually better than what they had experienced in the office on their high-end machines.
MSA Senior Systems Engineer Mike Albitz says, “We were close to signing a deal with another company when we discovered IronOrbit during the 2019 ACEC Conference. We preferred IronOrbit’s private cloud option because it gave us much more control.” Mike Albitz and his team had planned on migrating to IronOrbit’s INFINITY Workspaces in stages, but then the threat of the COVID-19 virus erupted. Just as the pandemic has accelerated history and caused business leaders to rethink the way they will continue to do business; it escalated the whole process of MSA Professional Services moving to the cloud. Mike adds, “when COVID-19 started, we were able to provide latency-free desktops to users with substandard home internet connections using IronOrbit. It’s been great!”
Ultimately, the plan is to move MSA employees from the 17 offices to a virtual environment. For the engineers and designers, they will have the ability to work on 3D models, render them, collaborate without suffering through lag times, and they’ll be able to do it from anywhere. Even at home with a substandard internet connection.
Fortunately for MSA, the timing couldn’t have been better. Providing GPU-Accelerated INFINITY Workspaces made their design team prepared to continue working through the pandemic. No matter how 2021 plays out, they’ll be ready.
Discover for yourself how IronOrbit can enable your entire team, no matter where they live, to harness the power of the cloud.
Telecommute, remote work, work from home, flexible location. These are all common terms, depicting the ability to do your job from a location other than the work office. These terms have been on everyone’s mind lately. They’ve joined the lexicon along with words like coronavirus, pandemic, and physical distancing.
The government is closing down operations deemed non-critical. More and more state officials are urging people to stay at home. Companies across the globe have to increase their remote workforce or shut-down altogether. Modern-day technology enables employees to work from home and keep operations afloat. Many positions can make the transition to remote work. These include virtual assistants, customer service, sales, IT professionals, writers, designers, and more.
Many Positions Can Transition to Remote Work. For those that can’t, cross-train your staff and shuffle talent in order to leverage their experience with the company.
A recent article by the New York Times reported that over 158 million Americans have been ordered to stay home due to the Coronavirus. Britain has an even more stringent lockdown policy. They have a country-wide ban on meetings of 2 or more people. It’s not known what the numbers of people working from home are. At least not at the moment. The popular web conferencing SaaS company Zoom noted that it had more active users in the past couple of months than it had all last year.
In a May 5, 2020 article in Forbes magazine, Wayne Rush warns that “telling companies to simply have their employees work from home is easier said than done. Not every company has the resources, the training or even the bandwidth to support an en masse move to remote work. In addition, for many companies, a move to working at home requires a significant shift in their corporate culture, something that may be even harder to accomplish than any physical requirements.” The article goes on to suggest doing some incident management exercises. Well, the time for practicing these disaster responses has ended. The window of opportunity has closed. It is true that, as Jack Gold states in the Forbes article, “companies are really going to struggle.” But overcoming these struggles, whether they’re technical or not, is going to make our companies stronger and better prepared for the future.
PERKS WORKING FROM HOME
There are obvious perks to be working from home. For example, there’s no commute, you can be comfortable, and your pets get spoiled having you home all the time. There are also advantages, which may not be so obvious, for the companies. In this Owl Labs report, we see that in the US alone, 48% of workers were allowed to work at least once a week from home. A whopping 30% could work from home full-time. We see some interesting stats on job satisfaction and pay as well. We’ll get into employee availability, cost-savings, and the technology behind it all a bit later. For now, let’s do a deep dive into the question. Why is a work from home option so beneficial to employees? How does it present such an advantage to the health and prosperity of the company?
A remote work environment liberates the totality of the company. No longer are the HR options confined to hiring candidates in one geographic region. You are able to pull job applicants from around the globe. This gives a major advantage in the size of the talent available. Not only the size but the quality of the applicants will go up. So there’s an increased talent pool. You can find the best talent available. You will also tap into a diverse workforce. There’s also an ancillary but real boost to the company’s image.
THE BENEFITS GO BEYOND AN ENHANCED SOPHISTICATED CORPORATE IMAGE
When a company advertises a work from home option, it demonstrates a couple of things. Both come across as sophisticated and attractive. It demonstrates flexibility and agility. It also bespeaks a culture that pushes the edge.
A Fast Company article reports that hiring workers from all over creates more diversity and other possibilities. More expansive regions mean less racial, age, and gender biases. For example, mothers will have an easier time re-joining the workforce after long stretches of staying home. Another major advantage to employers for hiring remote workers is salary. Remote workers don’t get paid less. Cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. are expensive areas to live in. Companies can hire talent away from their headquarters. Comparable employees can found in locations where the cost of living is much lower. This allows the employee more flexibility when it comes to salary. Companies have more leverage to negotiate.
Being able to offer telecommuting options to an employee is an actual company benefit. Telecommuting, when it is available, is listed as a benefit on a company’s website. It’s a perk added to a career opportunity ad. You can often find it alongside retirement options and vacation policies. It is also usually touted throughout the hiring process. There’s a reason for it. Telecommuting is a way to lure those that are familiar with working from home. Some professionals have always wanted to work from home but have never had the option. Those who have worked from home, either partially or full-time, often seek out similar jobs. and companies that embrace this type of culture in their next role. Job satisfaction can come from having a strong remote workforce. This satisfaction yields productivity.
Remote workers tend to be more satisfied because of the autonomy it brings. At home, there are fewer distractions (well, in most cases). They have more flexibility in their schedule. Allow employees to be autonomous. They’ll have an increased sense of ownership and freedom. In an office setting, there’s a need to conform to certain things like office attire, hours and a cubicle or desk. The Owl report shows that 71% of remote workers are happy in their current role. Only 55% of non-remote workers are satisfied. Job satisfaction yields productivity. In turn, job fulfillment results in less turnover in the workplace.
Having remote employees means much less overhead. You don’t need the office space. The cost-savings alone are reasons to get behind this movement. The cost of space in San Francisco can be around $80/sf. New York City hovers around $90/sf. The cost incurred for remote working space is of course non-existent. The cost of office furniture is another major factor. A high-end office chair can cost a company between $800 to $1,000. Companies have not provided stipends for home office use and expenses. As the current situation continues, that may change. A good case can be made for on-going telecommuting even after the coronavirus crisis comes to an end. In such a situation, some companies will offer reimbursement programs for home offices.
Some employees have high-speed internet connections at home. Some do not. Some are faster and more reliable than the office network. Embracing work from home, employees tend to use BYOD.
If an employee is operating in their own home, and on their own time, why not let them use their own equipment. BYOD adds more flexibility. Most people make use of their personal devices and computer set up in as much as possible. This is especially true if they have a more powerful laptop than the one issued by the company. Think of a company’s infrastructure. The telephones. The Network. The HAV. These become cost savings when large portions of the workforce do their job from home.
Old technology prohibited the work-from-home option for many businesses. Today, that’s no longer true. Companies can remove any obstacles allowing employees to work from home.
THERE ARE MANY TOOLS TO HELP WITH THE TRANSITION
Look at the hardware available today. The quality of wireless headsets (Plantronics and Jabra) have eliminated background noise. Having a Conference call at home is part of regular business life. There are desks that you can raise or lower as needed. These types of workstations provide better energy levels for those who sit many hours in a chair. Other items include multiple monitors for extended viewing. These are particularly useful for doing design work. There are laptops that fit any task requirements.
Web conferencing software (Zoom, Web-Ex or Skype)s for Business can work anywhere. Attendees have the option to use video or have audio-only meetings. Collaboration is key. Keep employees productive within groups. Keep them communicating. The use of tools such as Slack can keep information flowing.
Slack, a simple SaaS solution incorporates single chat or group-chats. It features system notifications and simple file sharing for your entire organization. The pricing is straight-forward. Telecommuters needing technical help can make use of TeamViewer or RemotePC.
Having your data backed up to the cloud is also important. Your computer is not on the company network. Syncing your work to the cloud is as simple as using Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. Time tracking tools can report on how long it takes to work on various tasks. They can tell how long you spend on different web pages.
The coronavirus has provoked an exodus from the corporate office to the home. The coronavirus physical distancing might be short-lived or longer-term. How business leaders manage their remote workers will determine the level of productivity. Communication from managers will have much to do with job satisfaction.
There are many SaaS-based apps available. These applications keep employees engaged and available. They also have the flexibility fo step away for a break. It’s a win-win for employees and their employers.
Job satisfaction and productivity are up because of remote work. The question is how will you institute a proper policy? The details will be different for each business. A recent article in Glassdoor proposes a basic approach. It advocates “adequate technology, disciplinary excellence, and clear communicative instructions.”
Employers now have more options to hire cream-of-the-crop talent. They can focus on skillset over the location of a candidate. Working-from-home gives business leaders more time to focus on productivity and bolstering revenue.
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