Q&A with IGEL Community Member Erwin Knapen, IGEL INSIDER
We recently sat down with IGEL Community member and IGEL INSIDER Erwin Knapen to discuss his experiences working with IGEL's products and solutions.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your role in IT, etc., and maybe something fun about you?
I'm Erwin Knapen, Workspace Specialist at StatisticsNL, one of the employees responsible for delivering physical End User Devices, a VDI platform, and all kinds of Communications platforms like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Exchange. In my spare time, I like to work on Automotive Motorsports Fabrication and electronics.
How long have you been working with IGEL technologies?
I've been working with IGEL technologies since 2017. I started using IGEL when the company that I worked for was looking for a replacement for their classic thin client hardware. After a short pilot, we were positively surprised by what IGEL could bring to the table.
Was IGEL your first experience with 'thin clients'?
No, in my previous roles and jobs, I've been working at a few ASP / Cloud providers that build on-premise solutions with VMware View and Citrix. There I worked with all kinds of different Thin Client brands (mainly because the customer already had them in-house before migrating to our datacenter solutions ).
How do you see IGEL solutions compare and contrast to your other experiences?
I like the software-based approach separate from just selling customers some box (hardware) with an OS on it. Like some other companies did in the past when selling thin clients, they sold the hardware, and software was just the 'thing' running on it.
We saw significant benefits from the quick firmware update cycle, giving the customer a faster update cycle on default features and clients like Citrix Receiver and the VMware Horizon Client. That way, the client could always quickly take advantage of the latest features available in their VDI solution.
How do you see solutions like IGEL help with the unified communications trend?
Stuff like offloading Skype or Zoom to end devices helps a lot with all the unified communications going on lately. Having the best end-user experience when using Team, Skype for Business, Zoom, etc., is one of the most significant vital aspects in selecting a solution for the end-users because of the high use of Unified Communications Platforms nowadays.
Can you share other impactful use cases you have used to help your end-users?
Using decommissioned laptops as thin mobile clients with IGEL OS and the cloud gateway helps with the growing demand for mobile working availability. The act of recommissioning hardware has been a helpful use case in some of my previous projects. Because of this possibility, the customer could get spare equipment for DR and Homeworking solutions fulfilled easily and quickly without a significant initial investment in hardware.
What do you feel the most significant challenges relating to working with IGEL have been and were you able to work around these issues?
After showing the ROI and TCO of working with Windows-based OS on an end device vs. IGEL OS, the challenge no longer exists.
What is your favorite aspect of working with IGEL software?
The fast development of feature requests and the up-to-date firmware builds. Together with an active community were, for me, the favorite things of working with IGEL.
Can you share your experience as a member of the IGEL Community?
What is this community you are talking about, Doug? It sounds interesting, but I never knew there was a guild for people who love hedgehogs until I connected to the Slack Community. The IGEL Community helped me when we were looking for custom solutions for HTML5 in-browser content redirection and having a language switcher in a company environment that managed and supported call centers in 55+ countries. Challenges with supporting 12+ keyboard setups and region and language settings for the thin clients would have been a big challenge if it was not for the help and input from other Community Members. We had a script/custom partition ready within a week.
If you had one wish for IGEL, what would it be?
Please don't change too much! Stay lean...
Special thanks to Erwin Knapen for taking the time for this interview. We truly appreciated it!