South East Coast Ambulance schedules Windows 7 rollout

South East Cost Ambulance Service plans to roll out the new Microsoft Windows 7 operating system across its operations in the next two months.

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South East Cost Ambulance Service plans to roll out the new Microsoft Windows 7 operating system across its operations in the next two months.

The service, formed when the Kent, Surrey and Sussex ambulance services merged in 2006, beta tested the operating system on 100 PCs. It will roll out the system to its 3,000 users in 85 sites after it is released in the UK on 22 October.

Ian Arbuthnot, information and technology management director at SECAmb, whose users are primarily on Vista, said at a Microsoft customer event earlier this month: “We will have a complete rollout of Windows 7 over eight weeks.” SECAmb is also rolling out the new second release of Windows Server 2008.

Arbuthnot said SECAmb chose Windows 7 because of its “simplicity of deployment”, referring to features such as the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit aimed at assisting with rollouts. The service also plans to use Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation and its Virtual Machine Manager software to virtualise its server infrastructure.

Security also factored in the choice, with SECAmb planning to use the Microsoft Bitlocker encryption tool and the Direct Access remote connection software.

“The software is very usable and intuitive,” said Arbuthnot. “We can still use older hardware too as its requirements are not too high.”

Arbuthnot said the system would also improve efficiency. This echoed comments by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, who claimed at the event that Windows 7 could save businesses up to £100 per PC per year, through easier PC management, simplified processes and better in-built security.

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