Note: This article is transcribed from an interview with Emery LeMaster, Head of Information Technology at a public library in a shire in the United Kingdom. The library has implemented the Smart Library Connected project using the FydeOS system to provide online book reading and internet access services to underprivileged community residents.
The link between the library and the community is facilitated by FydeOS
The role of the shire Library goes beyond lending books. We are responsible for 22 libraries, where the resources available include not only books, but also audiobooks, tools, video content and the newly launched FydeOS devices.
From this month (April 2023) we have launched the Community Connectivity Programme. The residents will be able to borrow FydeOS devices from any of our libraries.
This initiative aims to help people who do not have a computer or internet access at home to access online resources through our libraries, enabling them to learn and work remotely and help bridge the information divide.
Thanks to FydeOS, we have prepared over 6,000 devices, while minimising the burden on our IT department to ensure their secure and stable use.
Looking for affordable yet fully functional solution
Our shire is one of the most multicultural areas in the UK. According to the last census, at least 40 languages are spoken in our shire.
While cultural diversity brings vitality to our community, it also presents challenges, particularly in terms of access to information. There is a noticeable imbalance between different communities.
We have been constantly looking for ways to address these challenges. When we received a grant from the Government’s Equal Connectivity project, we saw an opportunity to address these issues.
With the funding approved, we urgently need to select a device that is easy to use and powerful enough to meet the demands of remote working and learning.
We also need to ensure that as many community members as possible can benefit from this service.
With only around 10 full-time IT staff, simplicity and efficiency of system use is paramount.
Our search led us to FydeOS. This system is designed with security in mind as it is read-only, ensuring that residents are protected from malicious software when browsing the internet.
In addition, FydeOS can run on a wide range of platforms, be it x86 or ARM architecture.
Even outdated devices from a decade ago can support FydeOS, allowing the shire’s public libraries to expand this initiative to twice as many users as other technology options without having to purchase new devices.
This frees up a significant portion of the budget for other areas of greater need.
Devices are easy to configure and secure
With an IT team of just ten people, we were initially concerned about how we would manage the devices and provide technical support to readers who needed it.
However, once we started using FydeOS, we breathed a sigh of relief. With the FydeOS cloud management platform, we can easily convert the existing devices to the FydeOS system through a seamless “Zero touch” process that takes just a few minutes.
For borrowed devices, the FydeOS cloud management platform offers a fully managed guest session mode, allowing readers to use FydeOS devices without logging into personal accounts.
When readers return borrowed FydeOS devices, we can effortlessly wipe all traces of use with a single click, eliminating any concerns about leaving personal information on the devices and ensuring that the next reader who borrows a device can access it securely.
Moreover, the FydeOS cloud management platform allows us to push applications and web links to the managed FydeOS devices and conveniently pin them to the taskbar. For example, we added a bookmarked web link to useful tips for using FydeOS in the browser. We have also pinned specific documents and learning-related applications to the taskbar of the managed devices, all of which can be done remotely without manual configuration by our IT team.
For years, our county library has been committed to providing online services to people without Internet access in our area. The deployment of FydeOS devices will enable us to extend the reach of the County Community Connectivity Initiative and bring the Internet to more people. We look forward to seeing how our library readers will benefit from their FydeOS devices over the coming years.
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