Network could save council money

Westminster Council believes that its wireless network could bring savings of millions of pounds a year by giving council staff...

Westminster Council believes that its wireless network could bring savings of millions of pounds a year by giving council staff the ability to remotely monitor services such as refuse collection and to connect to council systems on the move.

If the trials are successful, the council plans to provide mobile staff with notebook computers and personal digital assistants, allowing them to file reports and access council databases without having to return to offices between appointments.

It plans to extend the network across London by installing Cisco network bridges on lampposts. The bridges will be protected by encryption and electronic authentication to prevent unauthorised access.

"There is a lot of time wasted by council officers having to go on a site visit, for example to check licensing, and then having to return to the office to type up a report," said Andrew Snellgrove, the council's network manager.

Figures from Gartner have suggested that staff can save three hours a week if they use laptops, but productivity increases by 11 hours a week with wireless connectivity.

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