The USB ports we've come to know and love are coming to an end—and that's a good thing, or a disaster, depending on who you listen to among industry pundits.
For most organisations, though, the move to USB Type C is going to be a good thing, because it will offer greater peripheral flexibility and functionality while ultimately reducing costs. The process of migration could be a bit complicated, but with a bit of planning you should be able to avoid the worst problems while keeping users and accountants happy.
IT professionals on the job for a long time remember this same sense of worry from years ago when the USB Type A port began replacing the RS-232 9-pin port and Centronics parallel ports that were the standard connectors between personal computers and peripherals for two decades. Even after USB connectors became common in the late 1990s, many users insisted on the bulky serial and parallel ports because of legacy device concerns and worries about compatibility and speed.
Ultimately, though, manufacturers and users adapted, and today parallel ports are unheard of and 9-pin serial ports are rare on both desktop and laptop workstations. Just as USB Type A simplified peripheral decisions by creating a unified standard for connecting devices, USB Type C promises to further simplify the market by creating a single connection standard for peripheral devices, displays, and power connections. To hear some experts, though, this standardisation will cause the fall of Western civilisation rather than a simplification in your device inventory.
The complication is that there are multiple device connections that use the same physical connector—and not all of them are compatible. Here's a secret, though: if you start buying equipment and peripherals now and make sure that you're buying products with the most up-to-date version of USB Type C, you won't have any problems. Issues occur when you try to incorporate older devices into a newer fleet without educating users and staff. Keep your fleet up to date and educate your users on the necessity of having any legacy devices checked out by the IT staff before being connected to a workstation and you won't have any problems.
Newer laptops equipped with USB Type C will allow you to have:
- Auxiliary batteries that can work for both laptops and mobile devices.
- Printers, input devices, two-factor authentication scanners, and other peripherals that work across your entire hardware fleet.
- External displays that can easily be re-deployed across every device you procure.
The days of having to keep separate peripheral inventories for each device type in your fleet are coming to an end, and it's all courtesy of USB Type C.
You'll insure that your transition to the new peripheral connection is as smooth and cost-effective as possible if you follow three simple steps:
- Buy the right computers.
- Educate your users.
- Make sure that legacy peripherals are kept to limited applications with careful use instructions.