is a multimedia group tour systems provider to some of the best and well-known venues in the world. It operates audio and multimedia tours at over 1,200 famous and historic sites in more than 50 countries, from museums, such as the Louvre and Oppenheim, to famous venues, including The Vatican and Stonehenge. Each year, more than 62 million visitors enjoy an Antenna experience, which helps them to make a lasting connection with the sites.
With varying levels of infrastructure and data connections, gathering information from multiple sites back to its main server based in Connecticut, US, presented a major challenge for the company. Antenna’s IT system was faced with logistic issues while running a global multi-currency operations. They needed a consistent and robust software solution for their disparate sites to input costs and profit. With a staff of 80 to 120 per site, their infrastructure was not scalable with the company’s growth.
To solve their issues, Antenna turned to Parallels Remote Application Server for virtual application publishing globally from its major US hub and its finance/operations facility in London. Parallels Remote Application Server and Parallels RDP clients enables Antenna to run its Microsoft and client environments across different devices, The new cohesive and portable solution is flexible enough to be used with the existing infrastructure at client sites, to enable staff to log in, enter data, and generate reports.
The key for software delivery is the ability to work globally and cross-platform with an eye on mobility. Antenna users have a mix of OS and infrastructure from iOS to Windows XP, 7, and 8; and some sites have no infrastructure at all. “The question for us was, how do we deploy virtual desktops in a cost-effective way, providing a homogenous environment for users that doesn’t require infrastructure or dedicated Internet/VPN? We realized we needed Parallels, and it has proved to work faultlessly,” adds Sean.
In the past, Antenna used traditional “thick” client PCs in their various locations, with no way for the sites staff to access the systems without terminal services and RDP, requiring a dedicated circuit and VPN. In addition, there were security concerns, as management could not specify who received which elements of the desktop—each received the entire desktop.
Now, having moved over to “thin” clients, the cost savings are huge, and both business efficiencies and security have improved. Because not everyone needs to be in the system at the same time, concurrent licensing helps the company be more flexible with thin clients. Previously, US staff often logged into finance software and forgot to log off—now, management can centrally control the length of the session and disconnect idle sessions automatically. The company is taking advantage of a “follow-the-sun” strategy across the globe—as one time zone closes, the next opens. User access to desktop items is also controlled easily via login groups.
By virtualizing its key business apps, Antenna estimates that it has made IT savings of at least 50%. Business efficiencies have significantly improved, and there are additional cost reductions in staff and in moving to a single accounting system.
The IT complexities of troubleshooting numerous VPN connections were time-consuming and inefficient for both site and central support staff. Users found that VPN connections were inconsistent—they might work today but not tomorrow—which is frustrating for staff on the move and working remotely. Now, they all run over SSL using a standard port, with all data encrypted, which is more secure and much easier for staff members.
“Implementing Parallels was a great decision, and it reflects on my job in a positive way. In reality, it’s the only solution that backs and substantiates its claims— it is cost effective, rock solid in operation, and it overcame many localized IT headaches, especially cross-OS platform issues.”
Chief Information Officer
Antenna is planning further expansion in the Americas and EMEA later this year, and it will continue to roll out its virtualized finance system and Microsoft Office productivity suite to a large and growing audience across the globe—using Parallels, of course.
About Antenna International
The company uses both multimedia and the group tour system—providing a visual picture and audible tour for richer content—and the group tour solution that tens of thousands of visitors each day can use, such as at a venue like the Vatican where, in a room of 500 visitors, 30 people can listen with headsets that provide commentary in their language. Innovation and technology are at the heart of the business, keeping them at the forefront of experience-enhancing developments.
About Parallels RAS
Parallels RAS is a leading solution for delivering applications and virtual desktops to any device and OS. It was recently honored at the 2015 Govies Government Security Awards as the Best Hosted Solution. In recent months, Parallels RAS also won a TMC InfoTech Spotlight Data Center Excellence Award, The Best of TechEd North America 2014 Award, and was selected in CRN’s Virtualization 50 for 2014. Visit parallels.com/ras for more information and to download a free trial.
Parallels is a global leader in cross-platform solutions which make it possible and simple for customers to use and access the applications and files they need on any device or operating system. We help customers take advantage of the best technology out there, whether it’s Windows®, Mac®, iOS, Android™, or the cloud. Parallels solves complex engineering and user experience problems by making it simple and cost-effective for businesses and individual customers to use applications wherever they may be — local, remote, in the private datacenter, or in the cloud. Parallels began operations in 2000 and is a fast-growing company with offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Visit parallels.com/about for more information.