02/12/2013 - Exploring New Directions (Panlibus Nov 2013)

Peoples’ Network – Exploring New Directions


Neil Johnson - Insight Media


 Neil Johnson
 Managing Director,
 Insight Media Internet Limited


We hear phrases like “software as a service”, “hosted services” and “managed services” and these have been promoted by some as the way to go!  We can see how some of these services have been adopted in the library market with more Library Management Systems (LMSs) being externally hosted and service solutions. This combined with a move towards shared systems and service delivery does appear to offer some real benefits.

So if it’s recognised that there are benefits associated with delivering shared, hosted and managed LMSs is there the potential to apply some of the same principles to the delivery of other library services to provide similar benefits?  The Peoples’ Network and public access computers are now an integral part of a library’s core service provision.

With increased demand and greater expectations by the public for more computers with internet access and more demanding applications the load on library servers and network services continues to increase. Replacing these servers and extending existing networks to accommodate additional public access can be costly and challenging. It is not just the hardware, software and centralised infrastructure that needs to be considered but also the telecommunications and connectivity along with the resources to deliver, manage and support these services.

Whilst we have seen our customers adopt externally hosted, shared and managed LMS implementations we have also experienced an increase in the number of Peoples’ Network deployments where Insight Media are providing hosted and managed services.  This includes our iCAM range of products incorporating computer booking and access management system, our print control and public wireless hotspots.   Although the products and services provided will vary within our customer base we believe the majority of our customers are looking to reduce the overall cost of ownership and improve the services they provide but without increasing workloads or compromising their support and security levels.

Insight Media’s hosted service from our Datacentre has become a popular managed service for our customers where we provide database and web server provision. Some customers who initially implemented our products on their own servers have subsequently moved to our hosted solution to improve the service and support arrangements.  Some customers adopted the hosted route from the onset as appose to providing or using their own servers.  When a customer’s server is reaching end of life or needs upgrading we would naturally explore the options of a hosted service and the additional enhanced benefits this type of service can provide.


East Renfrewshire Libraries were one such customer who implemented iCAM Workstation Control, our booking and access management solution which utilises the libraries public network and our Datacentre.

East Renfrewshire Council LogoScott Simpson, Systems Manager at East Renfrewshire said “Insight Media’s hosted solution has removed the overhead for us of managing a dedicated server while at the same time meeting the demands of our corporate IT dept. We have been able to maintain the same level of application administration and control without having to worry about server hardware, patches and upgrades. The same hosted database is also used for our public WiFi provision and management”


Enfield Libraries implemented a hosted Wi-Fi solution running from Insight Media’s Datacentre completely independently of the existing council network and lines. This comprehensive solution is delivered as a managed service with both customer and end user support. Within a couple of months of installing Enfield’s Hotspots in the first three sites the library service decided to implement the same solution in five more libraries.

Enfield Council LogoMadeline Barratt, Libraries & Museum Service Business Manager, Enfield Council said

“With the growth of hand held and portable devices, offering Wi-Fi in libraries is vital to developing new user groups and ensuring libraries remain relevant in local communities. Insight Media are able to offer key requirements such as integration with the Library Management System, a range of statistical data and a flexible approach to set up and configuration. Insight Media also offer a proactive approach to technical support and system management that gives us a degree of confidence. Users and staff are very happy with speed and stability and we’re looking forward to the further roll out.” 


East Lothian Council made significant changes to their People’s Network to further enhance the library service when they implemented iCAM Workstation Control, iCAM Printer Control and public Wi-Fi across all their libraries.  This work included changes to the underlying public network which was migrated from its existing telecoms provision onto an ADSL system, with aspects of the service being delivered as a managed service.  The implementation utilises Capita Keystone Borrower Services for real time authentication purposes.

East Lothian Council LogoAlan Cruickshank, IT Services Manager at the Council said “Insight Media’s solution has enabled us to completely restructure our People’s Network, saving approximately £30,000 a year whilst expanding the service to include the Wi-Fi hotspots. Insight Media have been an excellent partner to work with, consistently meeting the challenging targets set on this project whilst maintaining a customer friendly focus which has ensured minimal disruption to the libraries and the public.”

So in summary, there can in certain situations, be significant benefits and cost savings associated with shared service delivery when working with strategic partners to deliver enhanced IT services. These projects are just a few examples of how a review of service delivery by IT departments and library services can lead to changes in service provision that not only saves money but can significantly enhances the services provided.

For information:

Contact: info@insight-media.co.uk

Tel: 0844 335 6350