London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is all set to roll out Google Chromebooks in the wake of Microsoft’s Windows XP support cut-off, according to a V3 report. The council, which was previously using 3,500 Windows XP desktops and 800 XP laptops, is in the process of rolling out 2,000 Chromebooks for employees and 300 Chromeboxes for reception desks and shared work areas.
According to Rupert Hay-Campbell, ICT and information governance officer at the borough, the council is paying £200 per Chrome device, which is quite economical when compared to a £500-£600 Windows laptop or a £350 Windows desktop. The security standards developed by the CESG, the UK government agency responsible for IT security, also helped in the migration, he added.
The council claims that the migration will save it around £400,000: half of that by not opting for new Windows desktops, and a further £200,000 worth of savings on electricity costs as Google Chromebooks are more energy efficient than desktop PCs. Hay-Campbell told Computing that the council chose Samsung 303Cs as its Chromebook of choice because of its "impressive battery life and portability".
The migration, however, does not mean complete elimination of Windows, as the council is also planning to invest in 600 new Windows desktop machines, especially for those who need to use specialist software like AutoCAD or streetlight-management systems, which are currently not available via the Citrix desktop.
Out of the 2000 Chromebooks, 350 has been already rolled out, and the council expects to deploy the remaining by early June. Regarding the learning curve, Hay-Campbell says that the staff would require a bit of training initially, but he is of the view that the training should be minimal because Google devices look and operate like Windows devices.