Calgary’s Userful a big factor in bringing technology to Latin America’s education system

Calgary’s Userful, a provider of low cost and environmentally responsible Linux school computers, recently announced that it has sold over 500,000 seats of its software in Latin America.

Following this milestone was an invite to attend this year’s Inter-American Development Bank Annual Board of Governors, taking place until March 28 in Userful’s home city. This event sees delegates from all over the world meet to discuss issues concerning Latin America. Userful is adding its expertise to the discussions around solving issues in Latin American regions related to youth development, digital and social inclusion, and education.

According to the company, more than 50,000 schools worldwide are already using Userful to provide millions of students with computer access. To date, this is the largest digital inclusion project in the world, bringing access to computer technology to children and their families across the country.

This project will bring access to information technology to almost every young student in Brazil,” said Luiz Ferreira, President of ThinNetworks. “But this project will mean much more: it is the beginning of a cycle of children and adults socially integrated.” (ThinNetworks developed and manufactured special hardware for the project.)

Userful says that the Brazilian Ministry of Education used to spend R$18,000 on each traditional computer lab, but new computer labs using Userful MultiSeat are deployed for as little as a third of that cost. 

“Social inclusion in the Americas is very important to me, and I believe improving the quality of education available to youth in an environmentally, and economically sustainable way to be one of the key pillars in achieving this.” said Tim Griffin, president of Userful. “The IDB 2011 World Conference coming to Calgary this year is a great opportunity to demonstrate the success Calgary companies such as Userful have had in aiding youth development throughout Latin America.

Userful says its software reduces electricity use by up to 90 percent, enabling schools to recover the cost of their computers through electricity savings, and it also reduces e-waste by up to 80 percent as well as reduces manufacturing water use by over 9000 kilograms per system.

Userful offers a free 10 station, 90 day pilot for any department of education worldwide so that educators can easily experience first hand the high performance, and ease of use of the solution. To learn more and to download, visit or email