Panic and chaos could easily have set in, with the council’s announcement of a climate emergency in 2019 followed by the national lockdown of 2020. However, the creation of a shared IT service with Sutton council. And the collaboration of Acer computers and Citrix IT providers allowed for the seamless transition to remote working.
Having carried out a digital review in 2017, Kingston and City Council opted to replace their dated legacy Windows desktops with Acer Chromebooks and Chromeboxes featuring the Citrix Virtual Desktop.
The adoption of such devices was a key part of the response to the announced climate emergency. A shared commitment was assured, with Google having pledged to make their business carbon-free by 2030.
Matt Stevens, UK Chrome Enterprise Sales Lead, commented, “We are excited to work with Kingston and Sutton London Borough Councils to provide modern technology to 5,000 council workers across 114 sites who keep local services operating for a combined 400,000 residents.
“Chrome Enterprise devices and Google Workspace were best positioned to help [David’s] organisation operate more efficiently while giving his teams a more modern work experience, fully integrated with the tools delivered by their Citrix solution. Most importantly, these solutions helped them stay productive during challenging times.”
Working in collaboration with Citrix and environmental consultancy Px3, the council carried out an audit to establish the power savings that would result from the exchange of old desktops for more energy-efficient Acer Chromebooks and Citrix VDI. The results gave the council great confidence in the aim of making the borough carbon neutral by 2038.
Ewen Anderson, Lead Consultant of Px3, said, “We benchmarked a 32% reduction in energy from the move to Citrix and Acer Chromebooks. If you combine this with the reduced commuting from more than 95% working remotely you would need 3,700 acres of mature forest - roughly one and a half times the size of the local Richmond Park - to remove the equivalent amount of pollution from the atmosphere.”
Chrome Enterprise devices integrated with Google Workspace were quickly identified as the ideal eco-friendly replacements for the council’s legacy systems. Delivering a modern work experience, these devices would allow for significant improvements in terms of efficiency and productivity.
Being able to support Kingston & Sutton Borough Council back in 2017 and now through the Coronavirus has highlighted the importance of partnership and being able to evolve together. Seeing how Acer devices have made an impact across the borough through this challenging time and across all different user cases has been fantastic.”
Nick Walker, Head of Acer UK’s Commercial Channel, commented, “The depth of the Acer Chromebook portfolio and our Chrome roadmap has enabled Acer to provide solutions at the start of the project and with a view on the future needs of the evolving user cases within the borough.”
Having carried out the assessment with Px3, there was clear evidence of the environmental benefits that could be realised through use of the Acer Chromebook Spin 513.
Jason Sam-Fat, Commercial Manager for the Shared Digital Service at Kingston and Sutton, said, “The Acer CP5-417 Chromebook devices met our sustainability objectives. The latest LTE-enabled Acer Chromebook Spin 513 version that we’ve aligned to further supports our objectives while adding flexibility for employees.”
With its slimline design, the lightweight Chromebook 513 stood out as the perfect choice for remote use. This popular laptop features optional 4G LTE, allowing for remote connection and the access of data and apps, even when Wi-Fi is out of range. With up to 13.5 hours of battery life, workers can be confident of completing their everyday tasks, even if they forget the power adapter.
“The combination of Citrix and Acer Chromebooks will help us make steady progress toward sustainability for years to come. With Chrome OS devices, we can better take advantage of moving the actual computing tasks to the cloud, which is a less energy-intensive way of working,” Jason Sam-Fat commented.
David Grasty, Corporate Head of Digital Transformation, Kingston and Sutton Councils, said the solution “enabled us to move seamlessly more than 95% of our staff working remotely without any changes to our infrastructure, which was fantastic.
The biggest kudos to us has been that it has just worked. We haven’t had to do anything differently; we haven’t changed our infrastructure in any massive way at all, to support going from maybe 10 - 20% of people working remotely at any one point in time, to 98%.”
David Grasty was also keen to highlight the economic benefits of switching from the old legacy devices to the eco-friendly Chromebooks. “We estimate about a £40k reduction in our annual electricity bill just going from those old devices to “state of the art” ones,” he said.
There are plans to build on the council’s success in managing the continuation of remote working post-Covid-19. Investment in Chromebases looks likely, with the combined devices and screens allowing for improved health and safety of those working from home.
Other councils and businesses are being encouraged to follow the Kingston council example, with the offer of Green Rewards. Prospective customers can use the calculator on the Green Rewards website to find out the value of their old devices. Such devices can be traded for Green Rewards, which may then be exchanged for more energy-efficient Acers.
Acer have also partnered with Ecologi UK, promising to plant 100 trees for every Spin 513 LTE purchased and registered.
Acer has provided valuable support to Kingston and City Council in the face of challenges posed by Covid and the recognised need to meet sustainability targets.