IGEL hungry for 'thin' business in Asia

German-based thin client vendor IGEL Technology sets up a new office in Hong Kong, and aims to have a hand in projects such as Singapore's SOEasy.

SINGAPORE--With the potential for greater adoption of thin client computing in Asia, one German company is ramping up presence in the region.

Privately-held IGEL Technology set up an office in Hong Kong last week to cater to the North Asian markets including China and Korea, said Heiko Gloge, the company's managing director, in a media briefing in Singapore. IGEL also has operations in the island-state, to cater to the Southeast Asian market.

Pointing to market predictions from IDC, Gloge noted that thin clients are growing over 25 percent year on year, about double that of PCs. From around 2010, thin client shipments to the Asia-Pacific region would match that in Europe and the United States.

The implications of data loss for organizations is one of the drivers for organizations to go thin, said Gloge. Thin clients typically restrict data access and the lack of data stored on the client makes it less risky for information to be leaked via mobile devices, for example.

The green IT wave is also pointing to wider adoption--organizations using thin client computing have reported a significant drop in power consumption and carbon emissions.

IGEL's Singapore-based general manager Alastair Welsh said the company is upbeat about opportunities in the region. One particular opportunity is the Singapore government's SOEasy project, which seeks to standardize desktop, network and messaging components within the public sector.

According to Welsh, the "thin client is an option" for the project and IGEL has been in talks with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore on this and other initiatives such as grid computing.

"The Singapore government is well aware of thin client solutions," Welsh noted.

IGEL partners systems integrators (SIs) such as Siemens, IBM and Wipro and is looking to form new SI partnerships as well. Its clients include Daimler-Chrysler and DHL.

Making SMBs thin
Although IGEL's clients in the region are mainly the local offices of multinational corporations, the company is trying to focus on small and midsize businesses as well, said Welsh.

There are challenges, however, in getting SMBs to buy into the technology, Welsh told ZDNet Asia. SMBs are generally hesitant to adopt thin clients due to wrong perceptions or a lack of awareness regarding the technology. In addition, SMBs have a lower threshold for the adoption of new technology, as they tend to worry more about user resistance and comfort level, he explained.