Time and budget-crunched corporate IT staffers have an unlikely new best friend on the job: desktop monitors equipped with USB-C connections. This technology supports staff by building ports into monitors, cleaning up workstations, reducing mundane support requests and lowering overall capital costs for workplace computing gear.
With full USB-C support, employees can sit down with a laptop and connect just a single cable to everything necessary to be productive. Instead of a tangle of conventional USB cables for peripherals like an external keyboard, mouse, printer, hard drive, power adapter “brick” and a video signal cable, one USB-C cable handles everything, including powering the laptop.
External USB hubs or docking stations aren’t needed to get everything connected, because the monitor takes on that role. Conventional monitors have interfaces on the back or sides for connecting video and audio, but USB-C allows users to simultaneously run off one cable linking the laptop and screen.
Growing Usage and Adoption
The installed base for laptops with USB-C ports is still small, but it is expected that all but budget laptops will eventually ship with the new ports and capabilities. “The vast majority of the market for computing devices, including desktops and laptops, will converge around USB Type-C, and to a lesser extent, Thunderbolt 3.0 solutions [by 2025],” predicts ABI Research.
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USB-C will gradually replace older USB types, including USB-A, USB-B and USB Mini-B ports that have been around for more than a decade and don’t offer the same capabilities or data transfer speeds. It’s important to know that USB-C is the connector type and USB 3.1 is a broad technology standard. The Thunderbolt 3.0 standard developed by Intel also uses USB-C ports but supports much faster data transfer speeds than USB 3.1.
As a newer standard, USB-C offers the following advantages:
- Simplifies connections, with one standard reversible connector that can never plug into a jack the wrong way
- Handles multiple duties from one monitor port, connecting peripherals like keyboards, mouses, backup drives and printers all plugged in to the monitor instead of the laptop
- Powers and quickly charges a laptop without requiring a bulky external power supply and cord
- Universal compatibility, meaning a USB-C monitor can power and charge any laptop equipped with USB-C
- Faster data transfer rates for tasks like external hard drive backups — conventional USB has a transfer rate of up to 10Gbps, while USB-C enables transfers as fast 40Gbps using Thunderbolt
For users, that means quick and easy connections and removes the worry and hassle of keeping laptops charged. For support teams, technologies that simplify usage and remove potential points of docking failure are welcomed. USB-C brings a level of versatility that hasn’t existed until now, raising capabilities while packing them into a no-nonsense connector.
Building a Modern Workspace
The attraction to corporate desktop support teams is obvious. For most of them, at least part of their day-to-day job involves running around getting staffers set up on workstations and in meeting spaces. When employees lose a power adapter or video signal cable, need a different docking station or don’t have the right monitor connector, the IT team is the first to be contacted.
To minimize support time, IT teams are buying expensive docking stations that easily connect worker laptops to monitors, but in many organizations, these docks need to support multiple laptops and hardware types. In pop-up meeting spaces like huddles, they’re equipping each with multiple types of signal cables and adapter dongles to minimize the urgent support requests that come in when a laptop won’t connect with a room’s monitor.
A USB-C monitor removes all the headaches for workers who just want to plug in and get to work, and for IT support team members who’d prefer to focus on larger, more big-picture projects. The monitor becomes the hub, and staff can walk up to assigned or temporary desks, connect their USB-C-ready laptop, and with access to a keyboard and mouse, be ready to work. With USB-C in place, IT teams are supporting fewer accessory devices, reducing the number of desk-side help tickets as well as capital costs.
While many corporate environments don’t have many USB-C devices yet, investing in monitors that have full USB-C support built-in provides an easy upgrade path as laptops go through a refresh cycle in the business. Those monitors still offer more conventional connections, and when the shift to USB-C happens, IT support can start realizing the benefits.
Get your complete guide to how USB-C can clear desk space, streamline office setups, and ultimately save time and money for IT departments.