Antenna adopts desktop virtualisation to publish apps globally and halve IT costs – via 2X Software

MoMA_Audio%2B_MSeck_019_150 res_cc MoMA_Audio%2B_MSeck_019_150 res_cc PRLog (Press Release) – May 8, 2014 – Antenna International,  a leading provider of audio and multimedia visitor experiences, has achieved a significant increase in IT availability while reducing technology related costs by using 2X ApplicationServer XG (http://www.2x.com/applicationserver/) to publish its applications globally.

Antenna International is a multimedia group tour systems provider to some of best and well known venues in the world. It operates audio and multimedia tours at over 1,200 famous and historic sites in more than 50 countries, from museums such as The Louvre and Oppenheim, to famous venues including The Vatican and Stonehenge. Each year more than 62 million visitors enjoy an Antenna experience helping them to make a lasting connection with the sites.

With varying levels of infrastructure and data connections, gathering information from multiple sites back to its main server based in Connecticut, US, presented a major challenge for the company.  Antenna’s IT system was faced with logistic issues while running a global multi-currency operation.  They needed a consistent and robust software solution for their disparate sites to input costs and profit. With a staff of 80 to 120 per site, their infrastructure was not scalable with the company’s growth plans.

To solve their issues, Antenna turned to 2X ApplicationServer XG (http://www.2x.com/applicationserver/) for virtual application publishing globally from its major US hub and its finance/operations facility in London. 2X ApplicationServer XG and 2X software clients enables Antenna to run its Microsoft and client environments across different devices. The new cohesive and portable solution is flexible enough to be used with the existing infrastructure at client sites, to enable staff to log in, enter data, and generate reports.

The key for software delivery is the ability to work globally and cross-platform with an eye on mobility. Antenna users have a mix of OS and infrastructure from iOS to Windows XP, 7, and 8; and some sites have no infrastructure at all.  “The question for us was, how do we deploy virtual desktops in a cost-effective way, providing a homogenous environment for users that doesn’t require infrastructure or dedicated Internet/VPN? We realized we needed 2X, and it has proved to work faultlessly,” explains Sean Lentner, Chief Information Officer at Antenna International.

In the past, Antenna used traditional “thick” client PCs in their various locations, with no way for the sites staff to access the systems without terminal services and RDP, requiring a dedicated circuit and VPN. In addition, there were security concerns, as management could not specify who received which elements of the desktop—each received the entire desktop.

Now, having moved over to “thin” clients, the cost savings are huge, and both business efficiencies and security have improved. Because not everyone needs to be in the system at the same time, concurrent licensing helps the company be more flexible with thin clients. Previously, US staff often logged into finance software and forgot to log off—now, management can centrally control the length of the session and disconnect idle sessions automatically. The company is taking advantage of a “follow-the-sun” strategy across the globe—as one time zone closes, the next opens. User access to desktop items is also controlled easily via login groups.

By virtualizing its key business apps, Antenna estimates that it has made IT savings of at least 50%. Business efficiencies have significantly improved, and there are additional cost reductions in staff and in moving to a single accounting system.

The IT complexities of troubleshooting numerous VPN connections were time-consuming and inefficient for both site and central support staff. Users found that VPN connections were inconsistent—they might work today but not tomorrow—which is frustrating for staff on the move and working remotely. Now, they all run over SSL using a standard port, with all data encrypted, which is more secure and much easier for staff members.

“Implementing 2X was a great decision, and it reflects on my job in a positive way. In reality, it’s the only solution that backs and substantiates its claims— it is cost effective, rock solid in operation,  and it overcame many localized IT headaches, especially cross-OS platform issues,” adds Sean.

Antenna is planning further expansion in the Americas and EMEA later this year, and it will continue to roll out its virtualized finance system and Microsoft Office productivity suite to a large and growing audience across the globe.

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