Feeds

US census ditches handhelds for clipboards

Back to pen and paper

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The US is giving up plans to issue researchers with handheld computers for their 2010 census, as changing specifications have driven the cost of each one beyond $8,500.

The next census is scheduled for 2010, and the US Census Bureau hired Harris Corp to create handsets suitable for the half-million researchers who have to knock on doors collecting the data.

The project was supposed to cost $600m, or about $1,200 per handset, but the Washington Post reports that changing requirements and badly estimated costs have driven the price up to $1.3bn for only 151,000 devices.

The handsets do have GPS and wireless connectivity to allow dynamic collection of the collected data, but that's hardly sufficient to account for a per-unit cost of $8,609.

The Census Bureau blames Harris Corp for misunderstanding its requirements and underestimating the complexity of the project. Harris blames the Census Bureau for failing to provide proper specifications and making 417 separate changes to the project during its lifetime.

Various groups, including the Government Accountability Office and House Appropriations Committee, have been picking over the problem and concluded that it was lack of communication on both sides that led to the ballooning costs. Harris had failed to take into account the cost of supporting users, as well as the complexity of the task the devices are expected to perform.

The last US census, in 2000, is estimated to have cost about $4.5bn (about $16 per person), but 2010 is going to break all records with an overall cost of $14.5bn.

For comparison, the last UK census, in 2001, came in at £254m – about $10 per person. It remains to be seen how much Deutsche Telecom can spend on the UK 2011 census. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.