How Do You Wake a Sleeping PC?

Remote access vendor 01 Communique Laboratory claims to have solved the problem of having to leave PCs switched on in order to be able to access them remotely – something increasingly popular among those who want access to their data and applications when they are not in the office, but a practice with security and environmental implications.

The company has even filed a patent application for the technology, which may throw a spanner in the works for rival remote access technology vendors that say they are working on similar functionality.

01 Communique said its technology provides remote booting of a turned-off desktop PC – a PC that is shut down at the office can be remotely started.

The issue of leaving computers on in order to be able to access them remotely hit this blog a few weeks back, after research from Fujitsu Siemens Computers found that 127m pounds ($225m) is wasted every year in the UK alone because employees fail to turn their PCs off when they leave work at the end of the day.

According to Andrew Cheung, president and CEO of 01 Communique, “In the past, companies have struggled to find the balance between adhering to corporate policies and allowing its employees to be productive from anywhere. As a result, mobile productivity has often taken a second place to concerns surrounding security on the internet and the rising costs of energy. With this technology we can alleviate companies’ concerns and allow users of our technology to “shutdown” their PCs, and at the same time, provide them with remote access when they need it.”

01 Communique said it has filed a patent application for the remote PC wake-up technology. But in an interview with me last month, the chairman and CEO of rival remote access software vendor Laplink, Thomas Koll, said that his company was also working on what he described as “proprietary solutions that allow users to connect remotely to a PC in Standby Mode.”

“You’ll see this functionality in the next release of the product,” Koll continued. “We are also working on a solution that will allow users to connect to a PC in full Hibernate Mode, although this will be a solution specific to a group of PCs connected by a LAN.” Laplink could not be contacted yesterday before I hit ‘publish’.

Meanwhile 01 Communique said it developed the technology to remotely wake up sleeping PCs in conjunction with its partner, Hitachi Business Solutions. It said it developed the technology to address both security and environmental concerns surrounding leaving PCs on every night. The technology has already been incorporated into Hitachi’s DoMobile Corporate Server Edition V2, as well as 01 Communique’s I’m InTouch Corporate Server Edition V2.

The remote PC access space is somewhat crowded, with competitors including Citrix’s GoToMyPC, Laplink, Microsoft, Access Remote PC, Network Streaming, RealVNC, Anyplace Control and 3am Labs’ Log Me In.

I use remote access technology myself and find it totally invaluable. But I do also worry about the environmental cost of leaving my PC on when I leave work, so anything the vendors can do to save me doing that is very welcome.

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