Mid-Western Regional Council Upgrades Mobile Technology
After an initial purchase of Motion Computing rugged F5v Tablet PCs in mid 2009, NSW‘s Mid-Western Regional Council (MWRC) has extended its roll-out of mobile productivity solutions across all field staff.
MWRC’s Manager, Information Technology, Andrew Sutherland, said that it is now using Motion F5v Tablet PCs for a range of activities across its 9,000 square km. area, with its weed inspectors the first department to utilise the tablets, followed by the mobile library; then roads supervisors and water system field staff.
The council will continue to equip field staff with Motion devices, including environmental specialists, building inspectors, council rangers and in the livestock sale yards. “We have a lot of departments with different technology and want to standardise and make life easier for everyone, including our small IT department.”
Sutherland said that MWRC wanted to roll out mobile technology to the Council’s weeds eradication field staff. “There were more and more demands for reporting on our inspectors and we wanted them out in the field, not in the office. They were having to double-handle information, make on-site notes and re-type those notes at the office.”
After seeing the F5v Tablet PCs at a Local Government IT conference in mid-2009 and talking with re-seller Dataflex about their specific needs, Dataflex arranged a demonstration of the Motion Tablets to the council.
Dataflex’s Kathleen Donoso said that the council had previously looked at other rugged tablet PCs without finding the flexibility and features it was looking for. “While we worked through their requirements, we provided an evaluation unit for them to test, which they found very user-friendly. They’d found a lot of devices were too small for map-reading, but liked the tablets’ screen size and the excellent visibility and brightness of the display outdoors.”
Sutherland said the Motion Computing Tablets also had a lot more features than competitors, such as the fingerprint reader for logging on and off quickly, built-in camera and a very mobile, light weight. “Ergonomically, you simply pick it up by the handle and off you go. The robust capabilities of the tablets eliminate the need to carry physical maps, GPS equipment, cameras and other devices.”
Post-purchase, Motion provided training as required on how to best work with the devices. “We found them very intuitive to use and were familiar with mobile technology, so handled most of the training in-house,” said Sutherland.
The council has purchased office docking stations and keyboards for all users, together with vehicle docking modules, which it has modified to suit MWRC vehicles. It is using the F5v standard Windows 7 software, CIVICA Spydus for Library operations, MapInfo for Weeds Management and Reflect for the Roads and Water Management.
Early results are meeting expectations. “We’re definitely seeing productivity improvements. The guys swear by them, not at them!” Our weeds inspectors are sending reports and inspection notices directly to the customers being inspected and straight to our server, so the data is available to everyone. The mobile library people are very happy, as the integrated barcode reader allows items to be scanned and linked directly into the office database. The roads teams were at first a little reluctant, but now they’ve changed their tune and like them.”
Sutherland said that externally, other organisations with weed eradication teams which are looking into their own mobile solutions are watching the MWRC’s testing and expansion to other departments.
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About Motion Computing
Motion Computing is a leading provider of integrated mobile computing solutions, combining world-class products with services customised for the unique needs of target vertical markets. The company’s enhanced line of rugged tablet PCs, mobile point of care solutions and accessories are designed to increase mobile productivity while providing portability, security, power and versatility. www.motioncomputing.com.au
About Mid-Western Regional Council
The prosperous, vibrant Mid-Western Regional Council is located 3.5 hours from Sydney. Combining country charm with a city's worth of things to do, the region offers quality lifestyle in a dynamic economic environment. The Mid-Western Region covers an area of more than 9,000 square kilometres and includes the historic towns of Gulgong, Kandos, Mudgee and Rylstone, in addition to many rural villages. The region stretches from the WollemiNational Park in the east to LakeBurrendong in the west and from the GoulburnNational Park in the north to the Macquarie and TuronRivers in the south. Total population of the Mid-Western Region exceeds 22,000.
Dataflex is an all-encompassing Information Technology (IT) service provider with a presence in the Australian market for over two decades. We supply IT design, provision and support services, including helpdesks, networks, storage, voice communications, disaster recovery and backup arrangements, and cloud computing implementations.
A customised approach is key to our success as one of Australia’s leaders in supplying government IT services. Our focus on versatility and adaptability, and our relationship with top-tier providers allows clients to access a range of trusted products via a single service entry point. Our clients are supplied with integrated environments that address business challenges and allow them to achieve sustainable excellence in their IT strategies. www.dataflex.com.au