PC manufacturer Dell has announced it has been appointed by UK-based business support specialist Amey for a 10-year period, as the computer hardware supplier for the People’s Network, a major Northern Ireland-wide e-government technology project.
The contract, valued in the region of £7 million sterling (€11.04m), will involve the provision of Dell’s desktops, notebooks and servers along with associated peripherals and accessories, which will be deployed at the five Northern Ireland Education and Library Boards.
Dell was awarded the contract on the basis of its business value proposition and its ability to custom manufacture the equipment to specific requirements.
The Dell win is part of an overall multi-million pound sterling contract awarded to Amey by the Education and Library Boards. Under the terms of the contract, Amey will provide a range of services including the provision and support of a new province-wide communications infrastructure and common library management system software.
The programme will provide an increasing array of online services to the citizens of Northern Ireland.
The first rollout of hardware, software and peripherals is currently under way and 2,235 Dell desktops and notebooks will be installed in 132 different library locations by the end of March 2003. Under the 10-year contract, all hardware and software will be refreshed twice, with rolling implementation currently scheduled to commence in 2005 and 2008 respectively.
Approximately half of the desktop computers installed in the five Education & Library Boards will be available to the public, free of charge, while library staff will use the remainder. Mobile libraries will use Dell notebook Latitude computers, complete with dial-up GSM technology to facilitate easy access while on the move.
Meanwhile Dell PowerEdge 8450 servers will be used in the Amey Datacentre in Belfast to run the boards’ email and internet caching.
David Elliot, Amey’s service director to the Electronic Libraries Programme, cited Dell’s leading technology at competitive prices and its ability to custom manufacture and install to stringent deadlines as being key factors in the contract win.
“We are pleased to announce the award of this contract to Dell. It was won on merit in a stiff competitive tender process. I am happy that the tender assessment team secured the Education and Library Board excellent value for money while obtaining the best technical fit for the business,” he said.
Dell’s equipment was produced at the company’s European manufacturing operations in Limerick with sales, installation, project management and support provided by Dell’s UK/Ireland dedicated corporate and public sector sales division in Belfast.
By Suzanne Byrne