Optima wins $4.5m NT schools notebook deal

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Optima has won a $4.5 million, three-year contract to supply its notebooks to Northern Territory teachers in remote areas.

Optima has won a $4.5 million, three-year contract to supply its notebooks to Northern Territory teachers in remote areas.

The Northern Territory's Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET) has selected Sydney-based box maker and service provider Optima Technology Solutions to supply a total 2200 notebooks.

The deal would give all Northern Territory teachers a notebook to use when teaching in remoter parts of Australia, as part of DEET's Laptops for Teachers project.

Cornel Ung, chairman of ASX-listed Optima, said the deal was Optima's largest notebook contract so far. "I think it's really important for us," he said. "We only started delivering notebooks to the market about 18 months ago."

He added that for many of the teachers the Optima notebooks would be their first-ever laptop computer.

Consequently, Optima's ability to complement its support of the notebooks with training software teachers could refer to as they travelled around helped the local box-maker win the tender, he said.

"We [also] put up a service centre in the Northern Territory to support this contract," Ung said.

The notebooks supplied would incorporate the Centrino bundle of mobility-focused features. It was important for teachers to have the latest technology, Ung pointed out, so they could transfer knowledge of that to their pupils.

The Northern Territory's Laptops for Teachers project is aimed at encouraging principals and teachers to integrate learning technologies into the classroom and administrative practices of schools.

"We will be helping them to use the notebooks to develop e-learning in future," Ung said.

Troy Jackson, IT operations manager at DEET in the Northern Territory, said Optima had shown it could turn orders around quickly, partly because it was a local manufacturer.
 
Its nationwide support and supply network was also a bonus, he said.

"Optima also has plenty of experience supplying computers to the education and government sector and a great reputation within the industry, so we knew that it would be able to effectively understand and meet our specific needs," Jackson said.

DEET ordered Optima's Centoris G583 notebook. Tools and applications would also be pre-installed on each notebook so all teachers had access to the same resources, he said.
 
The G583 notebook was also certified to run on the Northern Territory's special satellite network developed to improve remote schools' access to resources. The notebooks had already been delivered, Ung said.

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