GO-TIME: 4G Laptops Making Pennsylvania Agriculture Department’s Consumer Protection Work More Efficient

January 06, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – The same technology that allows mobile device users to connect anywhere at any time is transforming how the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture does business.

Department field staff identify and mitigate plant pests and foreign animal diseases. They also provide a broad array of other consumer protection services, including inspections of food and feed production facilities, farms, amusement rides, fuel pumps, scales of all sizes, commercial dog breeding kennels, restaurants, and food banks. For the past two years, the department has been equipping field staff with updated laptops with built-in, secure 4G wireless technology.

“Some of our field staff have been using the same computers for ten years. Updated laptops mean they no longer need to travel to one of the department’s regional offices to have secure access to their emails and files. Now they can work anywhere they have a cell phone signal,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding. “We’re operating more efficiently, saving travel, paperwork and time.”

Field staff perform inspections and other duties in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. In some areas, there was previously no way to securely access email, files stored on the department’s network and critical updates to their computers.

To date, the department has deployed 250 laptops, with an estimated cost savings of $520,000. The move will save the department more than $10 million during the project’s first five years. Within the next year, more than 130 staff will receive laptops, completing the department’s deployment of the technology.

“By switching to a four-year hardware refresh cycle, and leasing instead of buying computers, we’re able to improve security and productivity,” added Redding. “With these laptops, we’re reducing the time it takes to make inspection results publicly available on the department’s website.”

The technology upgrades are part of Governor Tom Wolf’s GO-TIME (Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management, and Efficiency) initiative, which is modernizing government operations to reduce costs and improve services. During Fiscal Year 15-16, GO-TIME saved $156 million, exceeding the $150 million goal set by Governor Wolf.

“GO-TIME looks beyond the dollar figures to figure out how to transform the way we serve the commonwealth,” said Redding. “We share Governor Wolf’s vision of government that works, and this technology upgrade is helping to make that a reality.”

For more information on GO-TIME, visit www.governor.pa.gov/go-time/.


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