By Lilia Guan
A trial of Apple’s mobile product – iPad – has been undertaken by the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS).
The trial was part of a larger project related to improving remote and mobile computing services for Parliament House and began at the start of the year.
DPS has purchased eight Apple devices and four privately owned devices were also being included in the trial.
Department secretary Alan Thompson told Government News eight users were selected from across a range of business units within the Department of Parliamentary Services.
“An additional four users from the DPS technology support areas [were] specifically assessing technical aspects of their operation,” he said.
According to Mr Thompson DPS manages the Parliamentary Computing Network (PCN) – this network services all occupants of Parliament House, including: members; senators and their staff; staff of the Department of the House of Representatives; Department of Senate; and employees of DPS.
“The objective of the remote and mobile computing project is to provide improved services for all users of the PCN,” he said.
“The decision to conduct a trial of mobile ‘tablet’ devices (such as iPads) was taken in the knowledge that these types of devices are becoming increasingly popular and widely used.”
According to Mr Thompson the purpose of the trial was to assess tablet style mobile devices, encompassing technical feasibility; functionality; support; and security implications.
Mr Thompson said DPS expects there’ll be an increasing demand for support of these types of devices within Parliament House.
“There are two stages to the trial. The first stage is limited to devices being used to access the internet and email,” he said.
“The second stage will consider the feasibility of devices being used to access a broader range of services through the PCN.”
The intention of the trial was to include support for the connection of other devices running the Apple, Android, Windows7 and Windows phone 7 operating systems in the first instance.
“iPads were selected for the initial phase because they were already in widespread use and other devices will be evaluated in future phases if demand exists,” Mr Thompson said.
“However, additional devices/operating systems may be considered in the future.”
DPS was also aware of other Australian Government agencies undertaking similar trials and are in discussions with some of these organisations.