Thin project tool beats browser

Thin client software has beaten out the web as a means of enabling collaboration on the redevelopment of Tauranga Hospital.

Thin client software has beaten out the web as a means of enabling collaboration on the redevelopment of Tauranga Hospital.

Since the middle of last year construction project manager Arrow International has been using CollaborIT — owned and hosted by Auckland company Greenwood Technology — to link all involved in planning the hospital project. Construction work gets under way in a year.

During project planning, which is coming to an end, Arrow had 80 people connected to the system, including members of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, each of 58 user groups, consultants in Australia and New Zealand, and its own staff.

CollaborIT uses Citrix thin client technology, which requires users to download a 1MB Citrix client, and allows them to view and edit CAD files of up to 5MB in size in a few seconds.

Arrow project manager Derrick Reelick (pictured) says the company originally considered creating a website for the purpose but, at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000, decided it was too expensive.

All those involved in the Tauranga project are assigned an appropriate security level and file access permission. The system has been used to distribute meeting minutes and revised master plans to all parties. That’s led to time and cost savings for project administration, Reelick says.

“Everything is stored on CollaborIT, and all hard copies are scanned and filed. With CollaborIT it is there on the net and there is no mistaking what is the latest file or drawing.

“We have pushed the envelope a little and even have done legal tender documentation via CollaborIT. We gave each of the tenderers access to specific folders and they downloaded what they needed to prepare their tender. This eliminated sending out hard copies and again was done very quickly.

“The other hidden benefit of CollaborIT is the audit feature. It is immensely useful to have information on every file — when it was uploaded, who accessed it etc. In the event of things going wrong or if users query when they received files, this information is at your fingertips.”

Arrow had previously tried out CollaborIT on a redevelopment project at Whangarei Hospital.

Reelick says much time was spent early on setting up the system; training amounted to about half a day for each user.

CollaborIT is two years old and was first used by the University of Auckland in the staging of its Knowledge Wave conference.

Arrow pays a monthly per-project fee for an unlimited number of users.

“A small project might be $200 a month and a very large one $750 to $1000 a month,” says CollaborIT manager Andrew Crosby.

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Tags thin client

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