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Plug and play (and work): USB-C streamlines the desktop experience

For time- and budget-crunched corporate IT teams and work-from-home desk jockeys alike, there’s no question that anyone who needs a monitor to do their job needs a monitor equipped with USB-C connections. This technology supports staff by building ports directly into monitors, cleaning up workstations, reducing mundane support requests and lowering overall capital costs for business computing equipment.

With full USB-C support, employees can sit down with a laptop and connect just a single cable to everything they need 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 can handle everything — including powering the laptop, which makes a massive difference for home office setups.

External USB hubs or docking stations aren’t necessary to get everything connected, because the monitor takes on that role. Conventional monitors have interfaces for connecting video and audio, while USB-C allows users to run on one cable linking the laptop and screen.

Growing usage and adoption

USB-C is gradually replacing 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.

How desktop monitors are production hubs

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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.

Increasing benefits

As a newer standard, USB-C offers the following advantages:

  • Simplified 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 keyboard, mouse, backup drives and printers, all plugged in to the monitor instead of the laptop
  • Quick charging that doesn’t require 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, removing the worry and hassle of keeping laptops charged. Support teams welcome technologies that simplify usage and remove potential points of docking failure. USB-C brings an unforeseen level of versatility, improving capabilities and 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 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, IT teams are equipping each dock with multiple types of signal cables and adapter dongles to minimize support requests for monitor connection issues.

Now consider this type of IT snafu with an employee working from home who, at best, has direct communication channels set up through a messaging app to contact their support team. There the employee sits, several wires spread out on their desk, with a laptop and monitor that won’t connect to each other.

A USB-C monitor removes all the headaches for workers who just need to plug in and get to work. The monitor becomes the hub, and employees can connect their USB-C-ready laptop — no matter where they are — and, with access to a keyboard and mouse, be ready to work.

Investing in monitors that have full USB-C support built in provides an easy upgrade path as business laptops go through their refresh cycle. These monitors still offer more conventional connections, and when the shift to USB-C happens, IT support can immediately realize the benefits.

Learn how desktop monitors can become production hubs in our free guide. And check out the evolution of monitor technology in this infographic.

Posts By

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes is a well-known veteran in the digital signage industry. He consults to some of the world’s largest brands on their digital signage strategy and technical needs, but also spends time mentoring start-ups. A former daily newspaper journalist, Haynes has for the past decade written a highly-respected blog about digital signage, Sixteen:Nine. Follow Dave on twitter @sixteennine

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