Tablets and smartphones could overtake PCs, writes Sylvia Pennington.
The NSW government has signalled the end of public sector computing dominated by the PC, with a new whole-of-government tender opening the way for more smartphones and tablets to be used by public servants.
Opened to response last week, the panel contract replaces the state's 2007 personal computers contract and covers end-user equipment including desktops, notebooks, tablets, workstations and other client computing devices.
Collectively, NSW agencies are among the country's biggest hardware customers.
A 2012 NSW government ICT survey identified about 420,000 devices, including desktops, laptops and tablets, in use across the state.
IBRS analyst Kevin McIsaac said the scope of the tender reflected the public sector's growing enthusiasm for tablet and smartphone technology, a phenomenon being driven from the top down.
"Desktops are alive and well - enterprises will continue to use them but they're not expanding," Mr McIsaac said. The hardware landscape had changed dramatically since 2007 when the previous panel was created,
A spokeswoman for the NSW Department of Finance and Services, which manages the tender process, said the contract did not presage a major upgrade or purchasing bonanza.
The NSW government ICT strategy released last year advocated an "as-a-service" model, rather than the state owning and operating its own IT infrastructure, she said.
Public spending on hardware has declined in recent years. Government investment in
devices and data centre hardware was expected to total $693 million in 2013, a 2.8 per cent drop on
the previous year's figures, according to IT research company Gartner.
The company predicts spending of $704 million in 2014.