The term Smart Client or Rich Internet Application (RIA) is a term used today to describe the benefits of a cloud-based platform that functions on par (feature-for-feature) with a locally installed client
For years, developers have struggled over the advantages between desktop-based and web clients. Web clients (sometimes called cloud applications) had the flexibility to be run virtually from anywhere without having to worry about installing a plethora of new software on every new machine. An example might be your banking website, whereby you can view your accounts from anywhere while not being required to install a spreadsheet program such as Quicken or Microsoft Money, whereas a desktop program (also known as a thick/fat client) allowed much greater functionality, such as graphic reports, infinite archive history, etc. The trade-off was, in a sense, form over function.
Around 2005, the tide began turning for web clients. The biggest asset was the ability to update the user experience remotely. A web client’s code could be changed from the cloud, which allowed coders to rapidly adapt and reform software in a truly dynamic fashion as new features or fixes were available. Most of the first web clients, however, still suffered from a lack of features that their desktop counterparts held. More recent advancements in Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight/WPF platforms, along with enhanced development of HTML5 or AJAX coding, have basically allowed cloud computing and web clients to catch up with installed applications bridging the gap of functionality while still offering flexibility in deployment.
In the security industry, that marriage of flexibility and functionality is essential, especially when talking about real-time video surveillance or remote situational awareness. Knowing that first responders from multiple agencies can access crucial information and even real-time video and electronic door access on the fly and from any computer or web browser is critical when developing advanced contingency plans.
At LENSEC we have developed new Rich Internet Applications specifically to be part of the security solution. Whether that need is for college campus security, K-12 security environments, citywide deployments, or even advanced commercial security, thin clients with smart feature sets allow full functionality, future-proof operations, and adaptive deployment protocols for the next generation of response and assessment tools.