The University of Cantabria (UC) is providing access to all teaching applications without limitations and through any device with UDS Enterprise. This connection broker is the cornerstone of the UNICAN Labs project, which allows students and teachers to use the computers located in the different classrooms in the campus from their homes, in order to use all the software they need to continue their lessons as usual during the alarm status by Covid-19. The IT department has developed this initiative with the close collaboration of the UDS Enterprise team.
To connect remotely to university computers they only need to have a device with a web browser (which can be a smartphone or a tablet) and an internet connection. In this way, the Porticada web portal can be accessed, where the full catalog of teaching applications is hosted.
UNICAN Labs is available to the entire university community. Its ease and comfort of use are some of its best rated features. Users just have to enter the URL of the service in a web browser, identify themselves with a university user and indicate the group to which they belong: students, admin staff or researchers. The system displays the different classrooms and public devices that can be accessed. The user clicks on the one he wants to use and another browser tab automatically opens showing remote access to the campus computer. From here, students, professors, or research staff use the computer in the same way as if they were physically at the university.
With UDS Enterprise, the UC IT department is able to offer universal access to around 1,500 devices, taking advantage of their computing resources and offering a solution for all students, who had been affected by the impossibility of access the computer rooms during the lockdown period.
“Many students were left without access to applications because their computers are old, have a non-Windows OS or because the applications they need cannot be used off-campus due to licensing matters. Thanks to UDS Enterprise we have fixed these issues and have been able to provide remote access to internal resources of the university through HTML5 or with a Tunneled RDP connection. We have not had to establish VPN tunnels, so we have achieved significant savings in license costs,” explains Francisco Javier Crespo Martínez, Head of the Support and User Technologies Area at UC.
This service began to be designed just three days after the declaration of the state of alarm at the initiative of Luis Recio, the Head of Student Support and Computer Rooms at UC. “We immediately detected that the tools to facilitate distance teaching and working at the university had certain limitations and we began to search for the technological solution that best suited our requirements. We knew UDS Enterprise for the excellent assessment it has within the university community and we knew that it is very focused on the educational sector both for its price and for the disposition and philosophy of the company. We verified that technically it fulfilled all our requirements and we got in touch with its team, who have provided us all the help we have needed to launch the project in the shortest possible time,” says Recio.
UNICAN Labs is providing a very useful service to the university community and is having a very good reception from users. "We are getting very positive feedback, everyone is very satisfied with this new solution," ensures the Head of Student Support and Computer Rooms.
At the moment, UNICAN Labs is considered a “campaign service”, since it has been developed in a lockdown situation and without all the usual resources. The UC IT department will keep on working together with the UDS Enterprise team to consolidate it and expand its possibilities, such as offering all university administration and services personnel the option of working from anywhere by connecting remotely to their computers.
The optimal performance of UDS Enterprise and its great versatility have favored that they are already considering the use of this connection broker in other scenarios. They will soon begin testing to provide access to virtual desktops created on demand on their Hyper-V infrastructure and to virtual Windows and Linux applications.
The implementation of UDS Enterprise has allowed UC to take a new step in its digital transformation process and offer an innovative service to all groups, with which they have been able to continue developing their activity while the campus remains closed due to the health alarm by Covid-19.
In the following video in Spanish, Francisco Javier Crespo Martínez, Head of the UC User Support and Technologies Area, explains what UNICAN Labs consists of:
Below you can see a tutorial of the service (Spanish):