NComputing will partner with the United Nations Department of Economic & Social Affairs (UNDESA) to bring computer access to primary and secondary schools in developing countries around the world.
The initiative has strong support from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and aims to provide 500 000 workstations to schools in developing nations by 2012. The program is being developed by the UNDESA Global Alliance for ICT Development (GAID).
"Access to computing technology is a cornerstone for education, social, and economic development in the 21st century," says Sarbuland Khan, executive co-ordinator of UNDESA-GAID. "This initiative will play an important role in closing the digital literacy gap that exists in the world's developing nations."
The first pilot project was completed in Burkina Faso, with additional projects spanning Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania scheduled for 2009. These projects will utilise 1 000 NComputing Linux-based virtual desktops.
NComputing virtual desktops are ideal for the project because they provide very low-cost computing, are simple to ship and install, require almost no maintenance, and use only 1 watt of electricity. In addition to the product donations, NComputing will also provide its logistical and operational expertise with large-scale rollouts.
The NComputing solution is based on a simple fact: today's PCs are so powerful that the vast majority of applications use only a small fraction of the computer's capacity. NComputing taps the unused capacity in a PC and shares it among multiple users as if each person had their own computer.
Each person enjoys a full PC experience by connecting their own monitor, keyboard, and mouse to an NComputing access device, which is then connected to the shared PC.
The access devices snap into place in seconds, are almost impossible to break, and save on maintenance costs because only the shared PC requires ongoing service or upgrading. The NComputing solution supports both Linux and Windows platforms.
NComputing has sold more than 1-million virtual desktops in over 140 countries in the last 24 months. Many are used in education, where more than 20 000 schools and millions of students are already benefiting from the technology.