British Gas rolls out 1,200 ruggedised Windows 8 tablets to field engineers

By Peter Gothard
25 Jul 2014 View Comments
smart-meters-1

British Gas has decided to invest in Windows 8, replacing its current loadout of ruggedised tablets for field engineers with Windows 8 devices.

The 1,200 devices in question are Dell Latitude 10 tablets, and are being provided through the company's infrastructure contract with Computacenter.

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British Gas says switching to Windows 8 in the field has made its British Gas Smart Meter Experts' working day "far more productive", as they're able to "draw upon information, such as customer data, rapidly".

This, it said, makes installing smart meters in homes a "far quicker process", which helps the wider objective of having smart meters to all customers in the UK by 2020.

The Dell Latitudes are used, says British Gas, in every stage of meter installation. Jobs are received, with updates through the day, on the Windows 8 devices, and can also be used for "commissioning activities" on the smart meters themselves.

Alan Fairhurst, technical consulting manager at British Gas Strategic Systems, said: "British Gas has already installed over a million smart meters into homes and businesses, and the roll-out is gathering pace as we look towards the Government deadline of 2020.

"We have worked with Computacenter for a number of years," he continued. "Mass device change is not our core business, so when it comes to projects such as this, we need a partner with expertise and experience, such as Computacenter."

Fairhurst describes the project as "quite aggressive".

"We had to get the new tablets out to our Smart Energy Experts quickly and get it right first time," he said. "With Computacenter's expertise and experience, we were able to successfully complete the project to deadline without having to invest in additional resources and space."

The Windows 8-toting field workers are also said to be "happier, more motivated and able to provide better customer service".

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