Dutch Senate goes digital thanks to iPads

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The Dutch Senate is going paperless, and the iPad is going to get them there. The upper house of parliament for the Netherlands was told two weeks ago it would only have paper to rely on for one more week, after which point, the iPad and a special Senate-specific app would replace documents and printouts (via Reuters).

Dutch Senators are the first in Europe to try such an ambitious project, and two weeks into the experiment, reported being mostly “delighted” with how it’s progressing so far. Some document printing is still permitted, but by and large, reference information, calendars, proposed legislation, correspondence and meeting notes are handled through the special Senate app on iPads.

While the program, including the app development and iPad purchases, cost €150,000 (around $204,150 USD), Dutch Senate Secretary General Geert Jan Hamilton told Reuters it would save the Senate around €140,000 in paper printing costs during the first year alone. After that, upkeep for the program will only be around €35,000 per year, so the Senate will quickly be able to recoup their initial investment and save plenty besides.

The program by the Dutch Senate is only the latest example of a growing push to replace paper workflows and supporting documents with digital equivalents via the iPad. Airlines are also testing similar programs, as are local municipal governments in the U.S., and medical professionals. The iPad’s disruptive effective in government, education and business may eventually become its most financially advantage outcome for Apple. Though it will take longer to materialize than the iPad’s consumer success, since large organizations move at a slower pace than the average gadget-buyer, we could eventually see the iPad become for business what the Dell PC tower once was.

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