IT administrator sitting at a desk in front of a window looking at line graphs on two monitors

What Is Keyboard, Video, Mouse (KVM)?

Discover how keyboard, video, mouse (KVM) provides IT with access to and manageability of remote PCs to improve productivity, reduce device downtime, and enhance user experience.

KVM Key Takeaways

  • KVM gives IT the ability to remotely control the keyboard, video, and mouse of a PC or device as if they were working on it in person.

  • Hardware-based remote access solutions allow IT to manage devices even if they are turned off or the OS is down or unresponsive.

  • KVM is a feature of Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), available on devices with Intel vPro® Enterprise for Windows OS.



What Is KVM?

Remote and hybrid work models are here to stay. That means IT departments must support more devices in more places than ever before.

Until recently, managing a remote or hybrid workforce with a fleet of dispersed PCs and other remote devices was challenging. It required sending IT technicians out in the field to address requests in person, working with employees over the phone to troubleshoot issues from afar, or instructing workers to mail their device to the IT department if more extensive work was needed—costing everyone time and productivity.

KVM, a hardware-based remote management feature of Intel® AMT, makes these costly, time-consuming, and complex scenarios a thing of the past. KVM gives IT the ability to remotely control the keyboard, video, and mouse of a PC or device as if they were working on it in person. When using KVM, IT administrators see an exact replica of the remote PC’s screen on their monitor and can interact with the remote device in the same way the PC user would—virtually eliminating the need for in-person IT support.

Best of all, IT can use KVM to access and control devices that are unattended, regardless of their state or location. That means any Intel vPro® Enterprise Windows OS-based assets, including desktops, laptops, or headless devices—such as smart vending machines, self-service kiosks, or digital billboards—can be monitored, restored, or upgraded remotely.1

How Does KVM Work?

Discovering how KVM works begins with a solid understanding of the difference between software- and hardware-based remote management technologies.

Both types of tools provide IT with access to devices and can help keep them functioning optimally. However, software-only solutions often fall short for IT administrators looking for comprehensive remote device management. These solutions can’t provide IT with access to a device’s BIOS firmware and must be powered on with an active OS to be managed. Hardware-based solutions, like KVM, operate beneath the OS, which means IT can access devices no matter if they are powered on or off or located on- or off-premises.

When using KVM on Intel® vPro Enterprise Windows OS-based devices, IT administrators must first confirm the feature is enabled. Once it’s enabled, remote management sessions can begin via Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA) software.

Within the Intel® EMA dashboard, administrators can set up endpoint groups, set policies and enable functions, and manage individual devices at the hardware level to complete any required tasks, such as debugging systems, solving VPN issues, or executing Windows Management Instrumentation queries against the system.

Benefits of KVM

By using KVM, both IT and the business can realize several benefits:

  • Improved efficiency and productivity for everyone. Remote PC management enables IT to spend less time traveling desk to desk for device troubleshooting, updates, or maintenance and more time supporting employees. With a more efficient and productive IT team, issues can be resolved quicker, so employees stay on task and business continues with limited device-related disruption.
  • Enhanced IT security. With remote management that operates independently from device software, IT can quickly respond to security threats or malware incidents that happen at the OS level.
  • Safer work environments. Sometimes devices must be placed in unreachable or rugged environments where it can be dangerous for IT personnel to access for maintenance and updates. KVM provides IT access to those devices without compromising their health and safety.
  • Improved employee satisfaction. No matter if employees work on-site or at home, KVM allows them to receive the same level of support from IT. That means issues can be addressed quickly and easily, employee frustrations are kept to a minimum, and devices stay up and running.
  • Reduced device downtime. With KVM, IT can complete OS and software updates, PC refreshes and migration, and device troubleshooting while employees are away from their devices—minimizing work interruptions or unplanned downtime.

What Is Remote KVM?

Remote KVM, also referred to as KVM Over IP, KVMoIP, or IP KVM, gives IT the ability to use KVM capabilities over the internet or a computer network.

In the past, KVM Over IP was available only as part of a complex data center environment. It required thousands of dollars’ worth of infrastructure to set up—Ethernet cables, remote KVM switches, and other expensive hardware. Today, with computers on platforms such as Intel vPro®, which offers KVM Over IP as an integrated hardware-based feature of Intel® AMT, the cost of setting up an extensive hardware infrastructure can be eliminated. This allows IT to support a remote workforce without having to install a KVM switch in each employee’s home office.

KVM: Greater Visibility and Control with Intel

As hybrid and remote-only workplaces continue to grow in popularity and IT is asked to support more devices in more locations, the value of KVM—and the robust remote management capabilities it enables—cannot be understated. Intel is committed to helping IT take control of their company’s devices by offering a single persistent KVM control connection on all devices on Intel vPro® Enterprise for Windows OS. With Intel, IT gains the ability to comprehensively see, troubleshoot, and resolve issues both at and below the OS level to keep dispersed workers—and their devices—safe, secure, and functioning optimally.

Frequently Asked Questions

KVM is a hardware-based remote management capability that provides IT the ability to remotely control the keyboard, video, and mouse of a PC or device as if they were working on it in person. When using KVM, IT administrators see an exact replica of the remote PC’s screen and can interact with it in the same way the PC user would. KVM is a feature of Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), which is a key component of Intel vPro® Enterprise for Windows OS.