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VMblog Expert Interview: Scott Johnson of SimpleCloud Explores their Turnkey Virtual Workstation Platform for Remote Collaborators

interview simplecloud 

The issues surrounding business continuity during COVID are global. And projects with complex development and content creation needs such as gaming, 3D visualization, production, and the AECM vertical (CAD, etc.) came to a screeching halt when COVID prevented access to the high-powered machines, applications, and in-person collaboration.
A Madrid-based startup, SimpleCloud, has been growing exponentially throughout Europe, and now in the US. SimpleCloud is helping agencies, movie houses, CAD shops, special effects productions, and video gaming teams tackle the future of work in the new reality of distributed workforces.

To learn more, VMblog spoke with Scott Johnson, Head of Americas at SimpleCloud.

VMblog:  How does SimpleCloud differ from other VDI, virtual workstations or cloud desktops?

Scott Johnson:  SimpleCloud is a virtual workstation platform for high-performance remote collaboration. Throughout its four verticals (Animation-VFX, Games, AECM and Education), SimpleCloud can be up and running in a matter of hours, offering unlimited graphic capacity in the cloud, access to applications and connection to an organization's files essential to maintaining business continuity or educating students remotely, from anywhere.

SimpleCloud leverages cutting-edge technology partners such as IBM, VMware, NVIDIA and Microsoft.  With IBM's cloud footprint, SimpleCloud can meet performance and deployment requirements of these organizations, and provide high-computing power, low latency and secure data centers to distributed workforces.

Unlike competitors or the costs of on-prem infrastructure, SimpleCloud is a turnkey virtual workstation platform that can deliver desktops to a team of remote collaborators in less than an hour from anywhere.  SimpleCloud handles complex, high-graphic oriented projects from fields such as post-production on animation or film, construction and architecture, game development, and can help esteemed institutions teach these crafts remotely.

VMblog:  Would you say you cater to those industries affected the hardest by COVID in terms of maintaining business continuity and distributed teams?

Johnson:  SimpleCloud is a solution that permits companies to work remotely with distributed teams in under an hour.  They can seamlessly transition and work from home as if they were still in the same office together, and these are projects as seen in studios, film production or architecture firms where in-house collaboration was the norm because of the complex nature of projects. 

The Administrator can manage the studio's application licenses within the platform. SimpleCloud offers all major applications from Adobe, to Revit to CAD. We also offer an optional Digital Asset Manager that can be interfaced with any of existing tools that a studio uses. The workflow management tool is here for the client to use if they want, and enables them to coordinate the most complex projects between distributed teams and third parties around the globe, and even better, to keep control over project data.

VMblog:  Across the AEC market, which has been slower to embrace the cloud, and what are the biggest challenges you're seeing these firms face?

Johnson:  Cloud adoption is something the AEC market has had on its agenda for at least five years. The main challenges facing the AEC sector are leveraging the company's existing resources with the adoption of the cloud, which is solved with the hybrid cloud. Data security is another challenge along with regulatory compliance.

Software manufacturers are putting cloud adoption as a priority with services such as BIM 360, BIMcloud, BIMplus, ProjectWise, Aconex, Thinkproject, etc. But bringing all of the company's project development infrastructure, hardware, and software to the cloud is the unfinished business of the AEC sector, and something SimpleCloud provides a brilliant solution to.

VMblog:  How are esteemed higher education institutions adopting SimpleCloud?

Johnson:  There are some unique advantages that SimpleCloud provides to universities and higher education in general.  We can especially help courses in graphic arts, design, engineering, architecture as well as research labs by giving access to powerful workstations that students need to run CPU intensive programs such as Maya, Revit or other software.  We offer an app for Windows, Mac and Linux machines that allows students or customers to use USB supported devices such as Wacom tablets, Cintiqs, etc. within the virtual workstation so you can work and teach exactly the same way you would do using a physical machine.

VMblog:  Can you share an example of how an organization has recently been successful during these times on SimpleCloud?

Johnson:  When the COVID crisis hit, Texas-based post production studio Lucky Post was able to transition immediately from their offices to working remotely on SimpleCloud. Within a day, we and our reseller CineSys were able to do some customizations for the studio and connect to their on-prem license server to access their software licenses. This maintained critical projects to continue when most of film, television and animation halted.

Elecnor, a leading global corporation dedicated to project development and construction, needed a solution that would give their workers the ability to work on projects from anywhere with access to the right level of high computing power. SimpleCloud AECM platform allowed them to create projects on demand, in a flexible way and without investment in new infrastructure.

On the other hand, Sach Consulting, a company specialized in Project Management, Construction Management and BIM Project Management, had to continue providing services to its clients whilst still looking for new business opportunities. Thanks to SimpleCloud the entire Sach Consulting team has been able to continue working from home in a collaborative, secure and flexible environment.

VMblog:  Time to implementation, being up and ready on a client, is something you tout can take just a few hours.  How is that the case?  What specs do you offer that would be interesting to readers?

Johnson:  It takes less than an hour to create a studio, workstation profiles and to provision storage for a new studio where business continuity is built in.  We put the power in the customer's hands to do this quickly and to scale up or down as needed to avoid paying for what they don't need, and we can do that without losing control of the data and providing budget predictability to the customer and turning CAPEX into OPEX.

VMblog:  Creative content like post-product film work, agencies and these gaming studios that are clients of SimpleCloud, how are they able to provide secure enough access to files and maintain collaboration?

Johnson:  SimpleCloud is a Silver Tier partner of IBM Cloud.  We benefit from their amazingly secure cloud platform which is also used by government, banks, and other industries that require the highest level of security.   The SimpleCloud platform is also designed to provide security for content creators and have also passed ISO 27001, 9001 and 14001 certifications.  Within the platform, admin can limit weather or not users can upload or download content, have internet access or not, and the content or code always remains in the cloud instead of on an individual's workstation.

VMblog:  What's next?

Johnson:  The future of work has been changed forever. Some of the most complex projects have to find ways around the limitations of in-person collaboration. SimpleCloud will continue to innovate on the platform, meeting the unique needs for each of its verticals. Within the next quarter, SimpleCloud will also add Linux to its platform.


Published Monday, July 27, 2020 8:32 AM by David Marshall
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