Health and Safety Are Top Priorities
In the education sector, health and safety have also become top priorities, and technology is offering solutions to some of the challenges educators are facing.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that our education systems have realized, if they didn’t before, that technology is a must-have,” Rapplean said.
“We continue to see education — from K–12 to higher education — think about technology in a very different way. Not just from enabling the students to e-learn from home, but also better leveraging technology for interaction with the teacher when they’ve returned to the classroom.”
Rapplean also acknowledged some of the difficulties faced by education systems in challenging markets where internet connectivity isn’t reliable or schools lack the resources to supply their students with devices. He spoke about advising education systems on how to invest in bandwidth and mentioned CDW partners who were providing devices to their coworkers’ children when schools were unable to do so.
Technology Can Help Organizations Address Social Issues
Technology leaders have the opportunity and resources to make a difference in their communities, according to Rapplean. “I would also reinforce the responsibility we all have,” he said. “It’s about how can we all — as leaders in this industry, leaders at a company level and just being leaders in our communities and in the world — make sure everybody is welcome, make sure everybody’s comfortable.”
“We just believe that the more we can all make an impact and accomplish that, we’re going to be a better community, we’re going to be a better industry and we’re going to be a better world.”
HPE Looks to Automation to Tackle Challenges in the Workplace
Brent Kenney, manager of the North America Compute Options Category for HPE, also joined the talk to discuss how the pandemic has altered office spaces and worker expectations.
“We see a light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic. But there are still going to be some extreme challenges, and who knows what the future holds as it relates to either working in the office, or at home or some type of a mix.” Kenney said. “I truly believe it’s going to be some type of hybrid environment for some time, if not forever.”
He emphasized the need to ask for solutions that will give employees the confidence to return to the office and ensure organizations won’t be vulnerable from a liability standpoint.
He said HPE is working on automated solutions that will help to eliminate or minimize physical contact, including automated fever detection technology that conducts real-time screening of students, faculty, staff and visitors; touchless entry systems; and social distance tracking and tracing tools that use AI to stem the spread of viruses.
The Acceleration of VDIs Has Enabled a Remote Workforce
Kenney noted the increased use of virtual desktop infrastructures for remote work, saying, “The pandemic really accelerated looking at VDI solutions for organizations.”
He said VDIs provide centralized security, additional flexibility for users who need high-performance capabilities and remote solutions for software licensing and troubleshooting.
HPE provides VDI solutions through its HPE GreenLake, which offers cloud services and technology suited to the needs of the specific workload.
Speaking of the promise offered by the service, Kenney said, “As we start to come out of the pandemic, I think we’ve become even better at creating a specific VDI offering that can be optimized in several different ways across several different platforms.”