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PowerTerm® WebConnect Gets Guilford County's Vote for Providing Browser–Based Host Access to Remote Users

Industry

   Government

Customer

   Guilford County,
North Carolina

Host Connectivity Solution

        PowerTerm® WebConnect

Host Server

        Windows 2000 Server

The Challenge

        To provide Guilford County remote employees with access to the County Sheriff's Department's public safety information management system running on HP - UX - without installing any software directly onto the PCs.

The Solution

        Guilford County's Office of IT Services installed PowerTerm WebConnect on the Sheriff's Department Windows Server to provide browser-based, remote host access to remote County employees at an affordable price.


Benefits

  • PowerTerm WebConnect provides an easy-to-use host access solution that is transparent to the end-user.
  • PowerTerm WebConnect eliminates the need to configure the software on individual desktops.
  • PowerTerm WebConnect is browser-based, installed on a server, with the entire system up and running within a few hours and causing no downtime to the end-user.
  • PowerTerm WebConnect frees administrative employees at the Sheriff's Department to perform other tasks.
  • PowerTerm WebConnect saves time and administrative resources by enabling remote county employees to run reports themselves.

"PowerTerm WebConnect is helping to save time and administrative functions. It saves the Sheriff's Department from having to do the administrative work, and it enables AOC to remotely access the information, when they need it. We see it as a win-win situation for both parties."
Justin Smith, CEO of Guilford County IT Services

Guilford County, North Carolina, wanted to enable the State's Administrative Offices of the Court (AOC) to obtain remote access to the County Sheriff Department's proprietary public safety information management system. The system is used to store criminal record information, including how long an individual has been incarcerated, the number of criminal offenses the individual has or whether it's an inmate's first-time criminal offense, etc.

Until recently, the method for obtaining such critical information was inefficient and rather cumbersome. The public defender or district attorney of the AOC would be required to submit a written request to the County Sheriff's Department. In turn, a Sheriff's Department employee would run the report internally on the public records management system for jail management (an application that runs on the County's HP9000 and RP570, on an HP-UX-11). The Sheriff's Department would then provide the public defender or district attorney with the requested information in written report form. This took a lot of time.

As part of Guilford County government's initiative to improve the efficiency of their operations and conduct business, Justin Smith, CEO of Guilford County IT Services and his staff were assigned the task of finding a way to expedite the process. The goal was to enable AOC employees to look up the information themselves without having to go through the County Sheriff's Department. One obstacle, however, was the State of North Carolina's regulation prohibiting the installation of software directly onto any of the AOC's desktops. According to Smith, "We had to find a solution that would work efficiently, but that would satisfy the AOC's stipulation. The only way around it was to find a web-based solution. So, we focused on finding a web-enabled terminal emulation program."

Smith downloaded evaluation versions of Web-enabled terminal emulation products from the Web. One product that stood out was PowerTerm WebConnect from Ericom Software. "PowerTerm WebConnect was the only full-featured demo version we found, and it was affordable", said Smith.

After testing, Smith installed the purchased version of PowerTerm WebConnect on the Sheriff Department's Windows 2000 server. Since it is just a web link for AOC, there was no down time there. Smith said installation went quickly and was very straightforward. "I had the evaluation copy for a month so it only took several hours to install the real version. It's not a hard product to get going. The only modification I had to make was some remapping of keyboard keys, and that was easy". Smith said the ability to set up remote printing to a desktop was also a big advantage.

Guilford County has initially purchased a 10-user license for PowerTerm WebConnect, which is used by up to 50 remote employees for accessing information on the Sheriff Department's public safety information management system. As time goes on, Smith says there is the potential for incorporating PowerTerm WebConnect into other Guilford County sites. "We also have applications running on IBM AS/400s and Mainframes. We currently use IBM Personal Communication (PCOM) for terminal emulation, but eventually we plan to replace PCOM. Some of the older machines have memory problems, which cause other various problems, but if we could deploy a web-based solution, it would eliminate a lot of these problems. A web-based solution such as PowerTerm WebConnect would eliminate the need for the County to replace the software on individual desktops."

PowerTerm WebConnect is helping to save the State and County offices time and administrative functions. "It saves the County Sheriff's Department from having to do the administrative work, and it enables AOC to remotely access the information when they need it. We see it as a win-win situation for both parties," said Smith.






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