Business

School district sees benefit of HUB 400 | Bellevue entrepreneur uses USB over Ethernet device to create multiple workstations off individual computers

GreenBridge Computing CEO David Yunger uses USB over Ethernet technology with HUB 400 Zero Clients device to allow up to 20 workstations to operate using one computer
GreenBridge Computing CEO David Yunger uses USB over Ethernet technology with HUB 400 Zero Clients device to allow up to 20 workstations to operate using one computer's processing power and software.
— image credit: Brandon Macz

David Yunger knows his HUB 400 Zero Clients might not be a hit with computer manufacturers, but he isn't hearing many complaints from customers who are saving money by using his USB over Ethernet device to operate multiple workstations through a single computer.

A former Microsoft employee who now works with the computer company, the GreenBridge Computing CEO said it all started when Microsoft committed to helping provide computer labs in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there in 2010. Yunger was part of the team that implemented 40 school projects in Haiti, which included long-range wifi, solar power and digital access using a Windows MultiPoint Server to create a network of computer workstations using one computer for its software and processing power.

"We went down to Haiti with our first server in a suitcase, a few servers in our suitcase," said Yunger. "Those kids are just excited, and they're fired up about stuff we all take for granted."

Wanting to expand the use of technology through cost-savings techniques in classrooms, Yunger's HUB 400 Zero Clients works with Multipoint, with the light-weight device plugging in to the back of a main computer and using Ethernet or USB to create a MultiPoint network of up to 20 workstations using one server.

"It's the magic of the two that makes this work so well," said Yunger. "This is just basically a passthrough over Ethernet, and that's what keeps (costs) low."

The HUB 400 Zero Clients sells for just under $100, and is currently being used in all elementary schools and some labs throughout the Bellevue School District — Yunger has three children in the school district. The district uses six workstations per MultiPoint Server.

"It gets the operating costs per seat down by a divider of about two, so it's pretty economical," said Carl Sweetland, director of technology for BSD.

That savings allows the school district to buy up more computers and laptops, in general, Sweetland said, which is great when many districts across the state are struggling for capital. One downside is that if the server goes down, it takes all six workstations with it. GreenBridge recommends running a back-up PC through the HUB.

The district is using the device in its elementary school classes, and in labs in elementary, middle and high schools.

"My sense is that most companies in this space hate it because they see it as cannibalizing their core business, which is selling computers," said Yunger from the Microsoft campus on Monday, April 7.

The response to the Hub 400 Zero Clients' capabilities has gained enough traction that it's being marketed outside of the educational realm and at businesses, the most recent being an exploration of its potential use by airlines. It is also being used by many Microsoft Technology Centers globally.

"This all leverages the Cloud," Yunger said, "so you can have whatever you want."

 

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