city of houston_case study



city of houston_case study
SimHouston Case Study: City of Houston
Free On-Demand Computing
Services to All Houstonians
Like many major cities in the United States, Houston faced
the challenge of making sure all of its citizens not only had
access to the Internet, but also to the software applications
that make Internet connectivity meaningful. While many of
its citizens could afford to be a part of the digital revolution,
many others were left out. "We're in an information society,
and people without access to the Internet were left out,"
said former Houston Mayor Lee Brown.
To help meet its citizens' technology needs, the City of
Houston partnered with Simdesk to deliver on-demand
access to an integrated suite of file, print, messaging and
groupware services, which are all accessible via the Internet.
Houstonians from All Backgrounds Connect with
Useful Technology Tools
The SimHouston plan proved not only to be popular with
Houstonians, but also among The United States Conference
of Mayors. In 2003, Brown took first place in the 2003 City
Livability Awards program, which recognizes and honors
mayors for exemplary leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in
America's cities.
Currently, 130,000 residents have registered for SimHouston
accounts, with more people registering every day. SimHouston
has also created partnerships with 40 Houston Public Libraries,
Computer Technology Centers, the Houston Information
Technology Empowerment Consortium (HITEC), technology
for all, and other local non-profit organizations.
Non-Profit Organizations Help Break Down Economic
Barriers to Technology
One of the non-profit organizations taking advantage of
SimHouston services is Heights House, an independent living
facility for senior citizens and the disabled. Donna Clabaugh,
Heights House assistant manager, didn’t want her residents
to miss the opportunities SimHouston could provide because
many of the residents were beginning to use the Internet
and e-mail to stay in contact with friends and relatives. After
connecting with SimHouston, the Heights House computer
lab is busier than ever before.
There was a large percentage of city residents
who couldn’t afford a computer, yet they were
competing in the classroom or job market with
people who had computers and could use
them whenever they wanted.
Students, and School Districts Benefit From Anywhere,
Anytime Access to Computing Services
Another group of Houston residents reaping the benefits of
SimHouston are the city's students. One Houston area school
district, North Forest Independent School District, is distribut
ing SimHouston accounts to 1,600 staff members and 10,000
K-12 students over the next eighteen months. Using SimHouston,
students will be able to collaborate with fellow students and
teachers from any Internet connected computer, whether
they are at school, the public library or at a friend’s house. For
students who miss class for any reason, Simdesk allows them
to access assignments through their shared classroom folder,
e-mail and instant messagenger with their teachers, and
submit assignments electronically. Today, every school needs
to plan beyond just adding a few computers, but our budget
typically limits how quickly we can provide our students with
access to the latest technologies,” said Don Green, Director
of Technology and Information Services at North Forest ISD.
Our plan is about giving every student in the district access
to private and secure technology tools and services required
to facilitate the best learning environment and help create
a successful future for each student.

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