Tablet computers to replace Carlisle council agendas?
Last updated at 16:43, Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Tablet computers could replace laptops for councillors.
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John, the article states "Members would be required to download their documents, usually via wi-fi, to their device prior to the meeting and would be alerted as to when reports were available." This can be done on the laptops they already have, no need to spend money on tablet devices, even more of a saving.
I may sound a little naive here but I can not see where the saving will be made. Tablet or PC, the same level of communication can be made regardless. A laptop has a clear advantage of having a bespoke keyboard and is much more tactile for use in creating documents. Laptops have greater storage capacity with one terrabyte being commonplace against the average tablets 64gb. Lets not forget that a tablet with 64gb is typically around Â£200 more expensive than one with 16gb. Screen size is the next issue, how many councillors will find a 10" screen comfortable for extended viewing over a 15.6" screen on a typical laptop? How long before a councillor claims that they can not type comfortably on a tablet and also need a laptop? Paper doesn't come into the argument as the same usage would be applied to both pieces of hardware, you only need paper when you need to print, you do not need to print out every document on either a laptop or a tablet; you simply read it from the screen. This illustrates another massive advantage of a laptop as the keyboard doesn't obscure what is already a very small screen. Mr Tickner claims laptops are heavy and not user friendly, utter rubbish, laptops are infinitely more 'user friendly' than tablets & the weight of a typical laptop is certainly not heavy. The Wrexham comments relate to a 'Home PC' which typically does not refer to a laptop and we shouldn't be talking about councillors preferences, we should be talking about what they need to govern efficiently.
Then there is the matter of updating the rest of the councils systems and security if IOS, Windows 8 touch or Android is to be integrated into existing infrastructure. Tablets are a luxury, not a necessity, they are neither needed nor can they be justified in these times of austerity. Whether it is the 21st century or not, there is no need to spend money we have not got when there is no tangible saving to be made.
I'm the first to jump on the ineffective members of our wonderful council, but....It doesn't say that a replacement is imminent, or tomorrow or next week, it says "tablets should replace laptop computers", and why not ?? Easy, less susceptible to Hard Drive failure, more robust than laptops (if you choose the right one).It doesn't say they are going to be 3G (or even 4G), nore does it say they will be 'i' models, or even run iOS.We don't know how old the current laptops are, or the state of them, or if they need remedial work or how long they will last. No-one has mentioned that Tablets are much cheaper to maintain in terms of hardware costs.It is true, anything you can do on a tablet you can do on a Laptop (unless it's Apple and you are trying to look at a Flash site..) so as a justification for an immediate change it doesn't have any weight.However, if this is a plan, a strategy then it's perfect, save some capital cash, save maintenance, save on power consumption, save of in-house support costs (Tablets are pretty much locked down in terms of operating system, over Laptops).Make this a plan to go hand in had with a paperless office and it's perfect, even more savings.However, if this is a plan to take perfectly serviceable laptops and replace them with a Tablet, then no, it is not good at all.The bottom line here is that we just don't know the full proposal..... it's time for clarity and transparent operation.. and I fear this is where the council will hide, creating suspicion.