Over the 2014 summer vacation IT Services have replaced every single work area computer on campus with a new, faster machine. Over 450 machines have been installed in the 15 different work areas, all with advanced components and an eco-friendly setup to help reduce campus carbon emissions.
The new computers are very fast with an average login time of under 10 seconds, and solid state hard disks and Intel i7 processors for quick loading and processing. They all come with a 23 inch screen supporting a 1920 x 1080 resolution.
As well as the new computers, we've also refurbished the work areas themselves. We've given the carpets in all areas a deep clean, re-painted areas that needed it, and replaced the furniture in some locations.
A program of work to make the new student image with Microsoft Office 2013 on all ITS workareas PCs and other key departmental locations with high student footfall was conducted during September.
Due to the high demand for the service we have been looking at opportunities to expand the service in locations with high user footfall such as cafes and foyers and departments offering dedicated space for additional workarea PCs.
In order to enhance the workarea service, we piloted a new netbook loan service in conjunction with the Library in 2010. The pilot demonstrated constant demand for this service and during summer 2013 the netbooks were replaced by 30 Toshiba laptops with 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i3-3120M Processor, HD non-reflective High Brightness display with 16 : 9 aspect ratio and LED backlighting and 320 GB hard disk.
We have continued to use some software called 'deep freeze' to help maintain the security of the laptops and reduce the requirement for constant support and maintenance. The laptops allow access to a web browser, Microsoft Office and wireless printing.
We looked at variety of support models and tools to assist us with the ongoing support and maintenance of our workareas as even small service outages e.g. a row of PCs unavailable can have a disproportionately large impact on the perception of the service as a whole. Labstats monitoring tool was selected and implemented during the first quarter of 2012. This has greatly reduced the dependency on customers reporting issues to us and overall support efficiency has improved as the tool has enabled us to be more proactive and resolve issues in advance of them being highlighted by the user.
The new SEATS service was launched to help users locate free machines in our workareas. The service displays information embedded in a sitebuilder page with a graphical list of computer rooms with the most free seats, summary of the top 5 locations by availability and links to the interactive map showing location of all workareas.