Get this bag off my back!

Each day, I get up, get ready and leave to the office with my ~5 kg laptop bag. This is the drill and I am not unique in this. Every time, when I pick up my bag I wonder to myself why I am carrying this? The biggest reason is, of course, the laptop. And then we have the charger, accessories, diary and a book perhaps, adding to the overall weight. While, book, diary etc. are all personal preferences for carry-ons, I hate it when I need to do this - just because of the laptop. I keep asking why? why?.  

Add to that the fact that its also a data security risk - whether thats because you forgot it at the airport check-in or someone stole it from you. True in some of the cities in India (and perhaps elsewhere), you also need to carry your bag to the restaurant or shopping mall because you just can not leave it in the parking lot. So, frankly, I find it a big big pain and an unnecessary hassle. Look around you and you can easily say that this not short of a small menace of its kind.

The solution to this menace of carrying laptop around are many starting with smaller laptops to ipads to no laptop at all. I like the latter than any other solution. 
What technologist calls as, "Virtual Desktop Infrastructure" (or VDI), is such a great way of moving away to the world of no laptops around. Of course, VDI needs to be complemented with another technology called "Bring Your Own Device" (or BYOD). The proposition is fairly simple and straight forward. An enterprise invests in VDI solution rather than buying people laptops or desktops. VDI is a like a consolidated infrastructure where you can pull up a desktop whenever you need it. Its as easy as going to a specific url and clicking through it to start using a your own Windows 7 desktop. But I need a device to see this desktop. So, lets look at some of the scenarios around it to see how it works.

1. At office:  

  • You come in the office with your smartphone.
  • You go to your workstation which has a wi-fi network, wireless keyboard/mouse and a wireless monitor.
  • Your smartphone is, now, already connected to these wireless accessories.
  • You go to the VDI url on your phone, authenticate and  ...
  • Here you are with your Windows 7/8 desktop in action.
  • The wireless accessories are not as alien as it sounds. The wireless keyboard and mouse have been there for quite some time and very affordable. 
  • Wireless monitors are slightly new. Wi-Fi alliance is constantly workings towards standards to make sure the wi-fi TV/monitor you buy in retail is connectable to your phone.
  • My android LG Nexus has a provision to connect to the Wi-Fi displays. I bet this is also on your phone is going to be available soon.
  • The newer phones have great display capabilities and processing power to make this setup more than enjoyable and hasslefree. 
2. At Home or anywhere else:

  • All the above + VPN connection to the office.
  • These days, phones come with a VPN connection option as well. IT departments are starting to support this more and more.
All this is not as complicated as it sounds. With the technology available today, this is fairly straight forward. All one needs is a strategy to bring in BYOD(+VDI) in your enterprise.  And now, with likes of Amazon launching Desktop-as-a-Service, the acceptance of this technology will drastically increased. Talking about Amazon's workspace service, its just a blessings to the start-ups. Start-ups dont need to have servers and now, no laptop distribution as well. Just invest in your people, get them nice smartphones :). Now, isn't that a great win-win!?

Of course, what is not so obvious in my writing above is the security of your data. All your data in this model resides within your premises or on your cloud - depending on where you keep your VDI environment. This means, no more needing to disable USB ports on official laptops or managing exceptions when people really need to USB out/in the data. Just invest in security of your common infrastructure which you anyways do already.

I am looking forward to getting my bag off my back. Are you?