City Council paper usage down 40 percent after switch to iPads

The City Council of Vancouver, Wash., reports that in the two months following a switch to iPads, paper usage is down by nearly 40 percent.


Stories of Apple's success in integrating the iPad into business have been easy to come by in the last year as many companies and organizations are finding that not only does the tablet save them time, but also money.

According to a report from AppleInsider, The City Council of Vancouver, Wash., found just that when it switched to iPads at the beginning of 2012. After these last two months, the council has seen a reduction in paper usage to the tune of 40 percent, which amounts to about 50,000 pages of paper over the course of the year.

Instead of printing several pages for every meeting, the council now uses iPads to disseminate important information at retreats and orientation sessions, as well as the applicant review process for advisory board/commission vacancies.

The paperless effort should be completed this spring, though print-outs will still be available should citizens want to retain the information presented.

The city of Vancouver uses an internal FTP server to hold the PDF documents necessary for each meeting. Jack Burkman, a former tech executive, was at the forefront of the movement toward using iPads in the City Council. According to Burkman, productivity at meetings has increased at meetings because of the iPad's larger screen and ease of use for documents and Web sites.

Besides the money saved from printing costs, iPads are also cheaper than the previously used BlackBerry smartphones. Placing the monthly cost of the BlackBerrys at $71 and the unlimited data cost for the iPad at $43, the city will save about $336 per year, per device. The city estimates that savings in printing cost are about $200 per meeting.

The city of Vancouver has already spent nearly $17,000 on iPads including 25 units for the Vancouver Police Department Command staff using grant money. With the iPad 3 expected to launch in the coming weeks, rumored to be featuring a Retina Display, the appeal of the iPad as a paper replacement in business and government will only grow.

Have you seen or used an iPad in a government setting? Let me know what your experience was like in the comments!