Tag Archives: Chromeboxes

Georgia creates a faster, friendlier driver’s license experience with help from Chrome

Editor's note: This week, we’re sharing two stories from Georgia state government agencies that have gone Google. Today we hear from Jeff Smith, CIO of Georgia Department of Driver Services, which provides secure driver and identity credentials to 3.5 million customers each year. See how Georgia Department of Driver Services saved hundreds of thousands of dollars, reduced wait times by 80% and improved customer service and experience with help from Chromeboxes.

Think about the last time you got a new driver’s license. What was the experience like? I’d bet it involved take-a-number tickets, long lines and outdated computers. Recently, the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) decided to change the image in our offices across the state.

In the years following the 2008 recession, the economy suffered and people feared losing their jobs. As a result, tax revenue was affected and Georgia government agencies faced 10 percent budget cuts across the board. Our management team came up with a creative solution — what if, instead of resorting to layoffs, furloughs or salary reductions, we could cut costs in other ways? Switching to Chromeboxes was one of the ways we saved money to meet the required budget cuts.

We submitted a formal proposal to the state technical authority to use Chromeboxes in our offices, and they gave us the green light once they understood it would be a secure solution. Chrome’s rigorous security settings and features mean we don’t have to worry about a customer data breach. The simple fact that devices store no data and reset automatically at the end of each session makes Chrome a secure solution for our locations.

Since we started using Chromeboxes in 2013, we’ve saved hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and expanded our use of Chrome to create a better customer experience. We designed our central Atlanta customer service center to look more like a mobile retail store than a traditional government office. Instead of sitting behind a reception counter, employees greet customers on the floor and help them fill out applications online at high standing tables. Our staff interacts more personally with patrons and can serve them faster, too — the average wait time in remodeled offices equipped with Chromeboxes has dropped by 80% from 30 minutes to six.
Chromeboxes are so intuitive that patrons of any age, background or technical ability can use them with ease. Some of our patrons know English as a second language, while others, like my dad, have trouble using computers. But it seems that anyone, including my dad, can use Chrome. Patrons also take the written portion of their driving test using these devices. Or, if a customer forgets their required identification documents, they can even use the device to access and securely print a water bill or bank records.

We’ve modernized our office and are now more customer-centric by switching to Chrome. While getting a new driver’s license or ID may never be a thrilling errand, we can now make it an easier and more friendly experience for every customer who walks through our doors.

How BioDot’s global team works better together using Android and Chrome

Editor's note: Today we hear from Dan Tisone, VP of Global IT at BioDot, a low volume dispensing manufacturer specializing in biotech applications. Learn how BioDot’s 60 employees use Android and Chrome devices to work closely together and build better products.

I’ve led IT at BioDot since my father, a former research and development engineer at Nokia Bell Labs, founded the company in 1994. Since then, I’ve seen workplace technology evolve from clunky desktops and servers to the fast, cloud-based devices we use today.

Our transition to Google started with Gmail in 2009. Through Gmail we discovered Google Apps like Drive, Hangouts and Docs. Google Apps are affordable and easy to use, so when we needed to purchase computers and smartphones for our employees the following year, we chose Google Chrome and Android products. Today, we have 42 Android smartphones, as well as a few dozen Chromebooks and Chromeboxes.

As an international business headquartered in Southern California with satellite offices in Asia and Europe, our sales team travels a great deal, and tends to use their smartphones more than laptops, whether they’re at the airport, in between meetings or in a taxi. They use Google Docs to review contracts and Google Slides to create new business presentations from their Android phones while traveling. They can even update Pipedrive, our CRM platform, through the mobile app.

I install work apps on each device using Google Mobile Device Management so employees can access required work apps and install any other pre-approved apps from the Play for Work Store. I can securely manage all devices with this central console, too. If an employee accidentally installs an app or downloads malware, I receive an alert and can fix the problem immediately.

Setting up Chromebooks is simple, too. It used to take me hours to deploy our old laptops. Each Chromebook takes minutes to set up — no time-consuming installations required. As BioDot’s sole IT staff member, it can be difficult to quickly deploy new devices while ensuring the security of every company device around the world. Chrome makes this easier.

Cloud-based Android devices also foster a collaborative work environment. For example, when the manufacturing team is assembling a new medical dispenser in the factory, they mark up the schematic diagram in red pen to show which parts don’t work. They used to snail-mail this marked up diagram to our engineers, who are hundreds or thousands of miles away in an office. Now, the manufacturing team snaps a picture of the schematic with their Android phone and uploads it to Google Drive, so engineers can see their revisions immediately. This saves our teams a few days’ delay, so they can iterate faster, and ultimately build better products in a shorter timeframe.

Google Apps also allows us to be more productive and efficient. Instead of taking a one-day trip to meet with a prospect for the first time, sales executives are starting to use Google Hangouts. This saves our company around $1,000 for each trip. When you think about the hundreds of trips salespeople take throughout the year, these savings go a long way — especially for a small company.

Switching to Google Apps, and subsequently Chrome and Android devices helps BioDot run faster and more smoothly. Employees, from tech-savvy millennials to employees who were new to smartphones, now rely on Android and Chrome devices to work together and complete tasks, whether they’re in the office, on the road or at one of our manufacturing facilities.

Charles Schwab uses Chromebooks to launch innovative, secure investment advisory service

Editor's note: Today we hear from Ed Obuchowski, Senior VP of Advisor Technology Solutions at Charles Schwab, one of the largest public brokerage and banking companies in the U.S. Learn how Charles Schwab launched Schwab Intelligent Portfolios in 250 branches nationwide using Google Chromebooks. If you’d like to learn more about how Chrome devices can be used as kiosks, register here for our August 17th Hangout on Air. To find out how Chromebooks can be used as shared devices, register for our August 18th segment here.

At Charles Schwab, we believe in the power of investing to transform people’s lives. Last year, we launched Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, an online investment advisory service that uses sophisticated computer algorithms to help clients invest smarter.
It was a huge opportunity for us to innovate and offer our clients more options when it comes to investing.

In order to launch successfully, we needed an intuitive interface that not only educated potential clients about our product but also made it easy to sign up. We tested several laptops and tablets that weren’t the right fit, before I reached out to Google. That was on a Friday and the following Monday, Google engineers came into our Phoenix engineering facility. By lunchtime, we landed on a solution that was quick to deploy, very easy to manage and use, and offered the high level of security that we demanded: Chromebooks.
With help from Insight, a Google reseller, we rolled out 1,000 Chromebooks in 250 Charles Schwab branches in less than two months. Everything worked right out of the box — our IT team didn’t have to install any software or manually customize settings directly on the devices. Instead, they used Chrome device management to put each device in public session mode, so multiple clients could use the same Chrome device securely, without signing in.

Our IT staff can implement specific settings, such as session length, which saves time on device management. Today, our IT team spends fewer than 10 hours each week managing 1,700 devices in our branches across the country.
Opening a Schwab Intelligent Portfolios account on a Chromebook is easy. When a client walks into one of our branches to learn more about automated investing, an associate hands the client a Chromebook. Within seconds, the client is guided to a Charles Schwab webpage, where he or she can learn about the product, complete a questionnaire and open an account. The whole process is electronic, so there’s no paperwork — minimizing errors and time spent on administration.
Our clients trust us with their sensitive financial data and their money. Security has to be our biggest priority. Chromebooks’ rigorous security settings ensure our clients’ data is safe. Chromebooks manage software updates automatically, so devices are always running the latest and most secure version.

Our IT staff limits session length and all data is wiped after a client finishes. IT can also block certain websites and limit Chromebooks to the private Schwab network, so data isn’t traversing public networks. If a device is stolen, there's no risk of data loss and the device is rendered virtually useless.

Our partnership with Google has helped us deliver on our promise to provide best in class client experiences with ongoing innovation. We’re also looking into installing Chromeboxes in kiosk mode in our branch lobbies, so clients can easily explore all of our other product offerings. Tens of thousands of clients have opened Intelligent Portfolios accounts using Chromebooks’ secure, client-friendly devices, and we've exceeded our targets nearly every month since the devices were deployed.

Here's more on how Charles Schwab's clients use Chromebooks to sign up for Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

To find out more on how Google helps keep your data and devices safe, view the Atmosphere: Rethinking Security in the Cloud digital event on demand here.

HubSpot embraces top tech tools like Google Apps to meet employee demand

Editor's note: Today’s guest blog comes from Jim O’Neill, Chief People Officer at HubSpot, the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform.

As a fast-growing SaaS company providing the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform, top technology solutions aren’t just a bonus at HubSpot; they’re an expectation. We aim to hire savvy employees who expect the benefits of modern, efficient tools for better collaboration and mobility. Our dynamic workforce appreciates the latest technologies, and as a business we need to stay up to speed. The relationship between people and technology is especially important to me as HubSpot’s chief people officer and former chief information officer; I’m particularly focused on how our people are adopting new technology.

We switched from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps in 2010 when the cloud was still more of an idea than a reality for most businesses. We loved that Apps allowed us to work from anywhere and that many of our employees already loved using tools like Gmail and Google Docs. Plus, our costs are now more than three times less per user, per year, using Google Apps.

Apps eliminated worries about system maintenance and upgrades, while offering us the storage space we needed. For example, our co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah stores more than 20GB of data in his inbox alone.

Five years after going Google, employee adoption continues to drive our technology decisions. We observe the products that are gaining traction among our team and standardize on the ones that reach critical mass. We also collect feedback about our team’s technology preferences and usage.

In addition to Apps, we’ve also seen the growing popularity of other tools, like messaging platform Slack. A huge benefit of these types of products (similarly to Apps) is that they require little or no IT maintenance. We can measure this by the number of IT tickets we receive, which dropped from dozens regarding things like syncing issues and PST file corruption to nearly none as a result of using easy-to-manage, cloud-based tools like Apps.

In addition, we’ve integrated Chromeboxes and Hangouts into daily life at HubSpot. Nearly half of our conference rooms are equipped with Chromeboxes, and nine times out of 10 our employees request this set-up over proprietary third-party hardware that is historically quite expensive when compared to Chromebox. As an employee preference and more than 4x cost saver, Chromebox is an ideal solution for on-the-spot or routine team meetings. People love the flexibility to stay connected with their teams, whether through ad hoc chats or planned meetings. We even have a team member named Jordan who is based in Alabama and connects through video Hangout almost all day, every day. We also use Hangouts on mobile to chat on the go. When you’re constantly in transit, like I am, the mobile experience is key.

HubSpot is focused on creating a leading technology platform, and the products we use should reflect this goal. The future of work involves tools that are available on the public Internet — legacy systems with VPNs and private networks require more IT maintenance and cause friction, which just doesn’t cut it for us. We’re constantly prioritizing how we can offer our employees the latest and greatest tech, and Google plays a major role in helping us achieve this.

Narvik Kommune brings social services to the Arctic with Google Apps for Work

Editor's note: Today we hear from Per Jakobsen, head of IT operations and development at Narvik Kommune, a Norwegian municipality 343 kilometres north of the Arctic circle. Read how Google Apps for Work is being used at Narvik Kommune to make life simpler for staff, so that they can spend less time doing paperwork and more time managing healthcare, childcare, schools, transport and housing services for the people that depend on them.

Norwegians value the human touch in social services. We call this “warm hands,” and we know nothing can replace it. But as a municipality, we need cool efficiency to make sure that our carers, teachers and medics are in the right place at the right time for 20,000 citizens across more than 2,000km².
Photo by Pål Jakobsen

Every day, Narvik Kommune coordinates 1,600 employees across 58 locations — but our old email system was holding us back from doing our best work. An obsolete user interface made it difficult to navigate, spam was a chronic problem, and we depended on expensive consultants for maintenance. Buying 750 Google Apps for Work accounts hasn’t just resolved these issues at a reasonable and predictable price; it’s made Narvik Kommune more efficient, more reliable and more mobile. We worked with Avalon Solutions, a Google Apps Premier Partner in the Nordics, who contributed to the successful migration.

We’ve gained several hours each week now that we use stable and secure Google servers, instead of wasting time servicing a spam filter and antivirus software and troubleshooting email instability. And the minimal training necessary to use Google Apps tools means departments throughout Narvik Kommune are discovering creative and productive ways to use them — all on their own:

  • Working together under tight deadlines in Sheets: Our economy team uses Sheets instead of Excel, so they can update documents simultaneously during hectic periods and avoid the delays and confusion caused by multiple copies when union representatives and others are involved in compiling records.
  • Collecting and sharing information across teams with Sites: HR uses Sites to reach out more effectively through the organisation when collecting and presenting information on large internal procedures.
  • Staying on top of meetings with Calendar: All teams use Calendar on our smartphones to organise meetings (and receive SMS notifications before they start).
  • Digital discussion notes on Docs: All teams use Docs to take notes during discussions, which keeps everyone better aligned and saves time and cost on printing.
  • Building budgets on Drive: Our councilman and managers across the administration used Drive to compile our last annual budget, saving time on a joint task that we would previously handle with fileshare documents that could only be opened and edited by one person at a time.

Most importantly, Google Apps for Work keeps our internal data secure. We have the added peace of mind knowing that our information is protected on one of the most secure infrastructures in the world.

With the flexibility of Google Apps tools, we can prepare for a smooth relocation while the Narvik town hall shuts down for two years of renovation and our core team spreads across three locations instead of one. We’ll use Hangouts on five Chromeboxes to meet and collaborate face-to-face, so we don’t lose that important personal interaction among teams.

We’ve been so impressed by the power of Google Apps, that we’ve extended the advantages of Google Apps tools to local students. We implemented Google Apps for Education accounts for each of the 2,000 pupils at our nine primary and lower secondary schools, and we’re trialling Chromebooks and Classroom. Digitizing public services with Google hasn’t just brought us national attention — it has freed up resources to invest in our future.