I was just thinking
We are always looking for ways to improve IT support and create efficiencies as we bring assistance to the end user. We like most IT staffs are understaffed and overwhelmed with support tasks. Automating and creating efficiencies is critical in this type of environment. We currently use an interesting product, called Synergy, to help us in that endeavor. Synergy is Free and Open Source Software that lets you easily share your mouse and keyboard between multiple computers, where each computer has it's own display. No special hardware is required, all you need is a local area network. Synergy is supported on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. This is a tool which is more for power users. I will add a little more detail on this later.
Conceptual setup is shown above.
How Does Western use Synergy
Synergy is a power user tool. There are a few configuration issues as shown in the link to the video below. It also works better if you are at a stable machine. I use a laptop only and so I unplug every night and take my laptop home. When I was using it so that I could talk to my MAC I had to reconfigure a few items each day.
We refer to the pose below as the "Prairie Dog Pose" this is where the end user seeking help has to hunch over the IT support techs desk and peer intently at the "way to small" monitor to receive assistance. See images below:
Essentially our strategy in some support offices uses free software in conjunction with high resolution led monitors. The free software, Synergy, as shown above allows interaction among multiple computers and monitors. The setup as shown in the image below:
In some offices we do not provide the opportunity for an interactive experience, but have tried to provide a more comfortable environment for all involved in a demo/training/tutorial situation. In the following setup we are not actually using multiple computers. We are using a single computer setup with dual monitors and a large screen led. The secondary monitor is connected with a VGA extender. There actually 2 pieces to this, a local unit and a remote unit from StarTech.com, which you should be able to get for under $100. The local unit features a single VGA input as well as two VGA outputs giving you the ability to view and split your source VGA signal to two independent displays locally. The VGA video signal is then sent over standard 4 pair category 5 or better UTP cable to the remote unit which also features two additional VGA outputs giving you the freedom to display your VGA source on up to four monitors in total.