Internet Access to Zone Manager
It is now possible to operate a fully featured Zone Manager system entirely through the Internet. No software needs to be installed and almost all installation, maintenance and support issues are solved at a stroke. High speed broadband access is available whatever the site connectivity is like. The system can be up and running in days.
Not so long ago, if you wanted to make use of the features and functionality offered by a software program or application, there was only one option. You had to buy one or more licences for the software and install it on the PC or laptop of everyone who wanted access to it. This meant that someone on-site in the organisation needed to be at least capable of installing software and understanding the issues that might occur. It might also mean paying for several licences if the software was wanted by several users. To allow web access to your system the situation got a lot more complicated, as a server and broadband access was required.
For the smaller system, the Zone Manager package makes life as easy as possible. The single licence means that however many PCs or laptops are used, the cost remains the same. The included installation, training and initial set-up means that users need only basic computer skills. However there is still the need for backups and action needs to be taken if the main user moves site and takes their laptop with them.
For larger organisations there are other issues. Many companies restrict the installation of software on the standard build PCs and laptops, and there are many security checks and compliance issues before new software is accepted within the company Intranet. Often security and network management is outsourced so that there is a charge for any change made. The database must be managed and brought into the company’s backup regime. Bringing Zone Manager into larger organisations has meant collaboration with IT departments and compliance boards, which delays the process and often adds cost.
The hosted service option offers significant benefits to both smaller and larger sites and organisations. Whilst there will always be a place for the 1-3 laptop set-up with perhaps one or two Display Systems, the hosted option opens up new opportunities for the small to medium site and brings many benefits to larger organisations.
For medium sized sites it is now possible to contemplate offering full web-based access to Trade Contractors, where previously the need for good broadband access and an on-site web server would have made this impossible. Zone Manager, including its web site, can be up and running very quickly. Backups are all taken care of and there is no need to worry what happens when a laptop fails or is ‘lost’.
For the large organisation the issues of security and compliance are also dealt with. Zone Manager is not running inside the corporate Intranet and so IT is no longer concerned with the detail of how it works or what it does. Through the use of tunnelling technology it is often unnecessary to even change firewall settings. As long as the Zone Manager site is accessible then the full system can be accessed through the standard browser (IE7 or above).
The servers are located in 24/7 managed, highly secure server farms. If the system needs to be scaled up, or the internet access speeded up, this can be done more or less overnight by adding bandwidth or switching to a larger server in the farm.
The hosted service is available on a monthly basis. It is possible to have a web-based operation up and running within days, making it viable and cost effective to have a full Zone Manager system, even for short term projects.