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Victorian Electoral Commission, Wyse Thin Client Technology Helps Manage the Early Votes for Australian State Government Voting Body

  • 15 October, 2007 12:08

<p>“Wyse Thin Client Easily Outperformed Notebook Computers in all Areas at our Early Voting Centres, they Reduced our Costs by Over 50%”</p>
<p>Sydney, Australia -- October 15, 2007 -- Wyse Technology, the global leader in thin computing, today announced that the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) had installed Wyse thin client technology for use in the Early Voting Centres (EVC).</p>
<p>“Using the Wyse thin client technology in the early voting centres saved us at least 50% of the costs as compared to the solutions used in the past;” said Shripad Joshi, Infrastructure team leader, VEC. “With such a short period of time allowed for early voting centres to set up prior to the election we just could not afford the time or complexity in providing alternative solution. We had to wheel in and be on line very quickly with no time available for solving PC type issues. We saved enormous amounts by using our own office staff to simply plug in the Wyse, rather than third party contractors as we have done in the past.”
“With no disk in the Wyse terminal, security was not an issue for us, nothing could be saved locally and no programs introduced from the terminal. We therefore could guarantee the availability and manageability of this critical solution which was a challenge using notebooks in the past.”</p>
<p>“The 2006 State election showed us that thin client technology together with Wyse’ history of innovation, performance and reliability, and Telstra’s ADSL support could provide innovation and cost savings, and give our stakeholders better service.”</p>
<p>“It is our intention going forward to use the Wyse thin client terminals in future State and local government elections. We are looking at new thin client technology like streaming and desktop virtualisation and also decentralised architecture that will enable the VEC to gain access from regional and satellite offices. As well we are looking at how thin client technology can better help us as we roll out Elections offices for scheduled elections and bi-elections,” said Shripad.</p>
<p>The VEC has traditionally established EVCs around the State for those voters who for a variety of reasons cannot attend a voting booth on State Election Day, which in 2006 was held on the 25th of November. These voting centres numbered 36 in 2006 spread widely around Victoria. They are established in various small locations on a short term rental basis for four weeks before the Election Day to provide early voting facility for the two weeks leading to the election.</p>
<p>VEC also established over 54 Elections Offices (EO) around the State for approximately three months to handle nominations, information to the public and enrolments queries before the elections.</p>
<p>Lastly the VEC trialled Electronic Voting in six E-Centres in and around Melbourne.</p>
<p>“The problem for VEC in running the remote office locations, in particular the EVC’s has been the complexity and cost of renting PCs for such short periods, making sure all were standardised (impossible really with rented gear), and the security and operational efficiency,” said Shripad
“For State Election 2002, we rented over 400 notebooks for use in each EVC where a voter was marked off the roll and then the notebook was taken back to head office to extract and transfer updates to the central database. It was a complex operation to setup 400 identical laptops and manage information extraction to update the central database. It also opened the possibility of fraudulent multiple voting.”</p>
<p>“In 2005 we trialled Citrix software using council provided desktops with limited bandwidth to facilitate nomination process from council premises. This enabled us to run standard applications at each site directly connected to our central servers however it soon became apparent that using infrastructure provided by others was a very expensive and unmanageable proposition.”</p>
<p>The trial with Citrix showed that thin client technology was definitely the way to go for the VEC; however the use of notebooks or third party infrastructure was not.</p>
<p>“Firstly using only notebooks at the early voting centres was not feasible either stand alone or connected to head office using Citrix,” said Shripad. “In 2002, at a stand alone EVC using a notebook we would mark the voter off the roll at the booth and then eventually when back at head office we would physically merge databases and recheck the voter against the master roll. This was not necessary when using Citrix and thin client as we could use one step to mark off and check back with the master database, so marking that person off at all voting stations in real time, eliminating potential administrative overhead and voting fraud.”</p>
<p>The trouble with using notebooks is that they are not all the same, and in a thin client environment they need to be. “Renting up to 400 notebooks at a time was expensive and we soon found out that different disk, motherboards and software configurations meant that we did not have the standard operating environment we needed. Even if we had purchased the notebooks at one time, it would not have taken long for them to be out of synch,” said Shripad.</p>
<p>VEC started looking for an alternative solution in Q1 of 2006 and trialled Wyse thin client devices. “We were impressed with the pedigree Wyse had in the finance and banking arena so they were our first choice for the trial.”</p>
<p>The trial soon showed VEC how well Wyse thin client could perform and they quickly moved to order 100 units to be in place for the lead up to the November 2006 State Elections. The VEC decided to purchase the Wyse thin client terminals outright rather than rent as they wanted a standard that could be used in all future state and council elections. They also found that the outright purchase was in the long run, more cost effective than renting notebooks due to the savings in running costs.</p>
<p>“What we liked right away was the lack of disk, centralised configuration and management, giving us complete control along with standard operating environment. Any Wyse unit could be plugged in to any office, connect to the server, upload and be ready to go in seconds,” said Shripad.</p>
<p>“Since all settings and setup are saved on the server, and using Wyse Thin OS on the terminal, deployment is just so easy. Since all programs and setups reside on the server it is just a matter of plug and play.”</p>
<p>The VEC use Citrix ICA to connect the terminals back to head office citrix infrastructure, which published the Election Management application connecting to a SQL database running on Windows Server. All offices including the 36 Early Voting Centres and the trial six electronic voting stations used the Wyse thin client terminals for the State Election in 2006.</p>
<p>The VEC contracted with Telstra Data Services to provide temporary ADSL based secure private IPWAN connectivity from the Early Voting Centres to the head office. “Telstra was very helpful and professional setting up the 36 offices for us in just 10 days. Previously we had used an expensive ISDN network and were thrilled at the cost saving IPWAN gave us. We worked with their planning team for four months prior to the implementation of ADSL and that really helped. Wyse also greatly assisted in this time which made for a trouble free roll out.”</p>
<p>About Wyse Technology</p>
<p>Wyse Technology is the global leader in thin computing. Wyse and its partners deliver the hardware, infrastructure software, and services that comprise thin computing, allowing people to access the information they need using the applications they want, but with better security, manageability, and at a much lower total cost of ownership than a PC. Thin computing allows CIOs and senior IT professionals to reduce costs, manage risk, and deliver access to information. Wyse partners closely with industry leaders Microsoft, Citrix, VMware, and others to achieve this objective. Wyse is headquartered in San Jose, California, with offices worldwide and ANZ head office in North Sydney, NSW.</p>
<p>Rob Stirling
Markom Marketing
+61 2 9977 8922</p>
<p>Anna Soriano
Wyse Technology
+61 (0) 409 315 012</p>

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