South East Water improves Workflow through Motion’s Mobility Solutions
SYDNEY andAUSTIN,USA– 12 October 2010 --With a large amount of its business activities in the field,Victoria’s South East Water is always looking for new and better tools and technologies to support its field staff.
A successful pilot program has seen the organisation virtually replace paper-based systems with MotionF5v rugged Tablet PCs for its Trade Waste team, with several other departments now testing the technology.
South East Water’s IT Project Manager Mark Skilton said a 2009 review of their work practices identified promising benefits for their Trade Waste team from mobile technology combined with its proprietary software, TWIS, and MicrosoftOneNote.
“That department didn’t have any IT or computer-based practices, so we were replacing paper-based solutions.We can already see a significant reduction in paperwork and printing, approximately 30 percent less even in this trial period.”
Working with long-standing IT partner Gamma Solutions, the Motion F5v’s were identified as the top solution after an eight-week pilot.The organisation has equipped Trade Waste inspectors with F5v Tablet PCs, together with docking stations, FlexDocks for home use and vehicle battery chargers.
“We looked at alternative solutions a couple of years ago, testing out laptops and other devices, but the trade waste inspectors do a lot of walking around and found them unsuitable to carry and work with.
“So one of the key drivers for us was finding a form factor that our team liked and the F5v’s integrated handle, light weight and size were a fit.The field inspectors like the predictive handwriting, the ability to use the tablets in the rain, and in direct sunlight.Officers can also draw diagrams directly on screen onsite, and they take a lot of pictures, which can all be combined in the same OneNote file while onsite.The tablets are compatible with the latest Windows software, which is a familiar environment for our programmers rather than other mobile devices.
“As they’re out on the road all day, the inspectors also liked the hot swap battery facility. Some of them can only come into the office two-three times a week, so the docking stations equip them to work from home between site visits.”
The Trade Waste team covers urban to rural customers across a variety of industries from restaurants to shopping malls, wineries, factories and commercial buildings. With more than 8,000 customers and some 5,000 inspections annually, inspectors regularly encounter new managers and staff, who don’t have information from previous inspections. Remote access to historic information via the tablets will aid that engagement.
“This is one area where paper-based systems were very inflexible; we needed to provide officers with access to real-time information, such as requests made on earlier customer visits.They used to have to print out or take paper notes from a previous visit, sometimes re-typing and uploading pictures and information again.
“The technology has already won us a better reputation with customers, who can ask questions and get immediate answers via mobile wireless while the officer is there with them onsite.
“With increasing familiarity, we are seeing productivity improvements. With our focus on monitoring water quality and reducing contaminants, the better we can do that, the more environmental benefits we can deliver.”
Skilton said that Motion re-seller Gamma Solutions have been very helpful and responsive, providing training even before the pilot program, then ongoing training.Gamma Solutions’ Sales Executive Stephen Lakey said that when the request came from South East Water for a solution to automate the Trade Waste auditing, from their familiarity with the organisation, it was apparent a PDA offering wasn’t going to suit.
“The screen size was too small for the in-house software and full requirements. The device had to have a large bright screen, be rugged; and function as a desktop back at the office. The Motion F5v fits the bill perfectly - the pilot program was a success, and they quickly moved on to implementation, with follow-up training to ensure everyone was making the most of the new technology.”
Skilton said that the tablets are generating a lot of interest within the organisation.“We are now testing them in three other areas, including tankering, field auditors out on construction sites and with our ‘US’utilities services trucks, which repair things like burst water mains and which have been working with rugged laptops.Another department that has expressed an interest is responsible for monitoring the regional network of water bores.
“The Trade Waste team is considering trialing the tablets on the large number of samples they take to check contaminants, which are then sent to the laboratory for testing.They will be testing re-writable RFID tags that are dropped into the water and can be read on the tablets, which eliminates the risk of the tag coming off or being smudged, or getting samples mixed up.”
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About Motion Computing
Motion Computing is a leading provider of integrated mobile computing solutions, combining world-class products with services customised for the unique needs of target vertical markets. The company’s enhanced line of rugged tablet PCs, mobile point of care solutions and accessories are designed to increase mobile productivity while providing portability, security, power and versatility. Motion Mobility Solutions offers a complete portfolio of products, services and support that helps ensure a successful mobile deployment for increased productivity, reducing project risk while delivering a more rapid return on investment.www.motioncomputing.com.au
About South East Water
South East Water is a leading provider of water, sewerage and recycledwater services to almost 1.5 million residential, commercial and industrial customers. It is owned by the Victorian Government and is one of Melbourne’s three metropolitan water retailers. South East Water’s focus is on meeting customers’ changing water needs and promoting wise water useacross its customerbase.It is committed to delivering innovative water solutions for customers, while at the same time delivering high quality water and sewerage services.
About Gamma Solutions
Established in 1992, Gamma Solutions Pty. Ltd. is a leading supplier of mobile computing and data collection. The company specialises in data capture hardware and software, and designs systems varying in complexity from simple programs for bar code readers in a batch mode to sophisticated implementations involving wireless infrastructure.Integrity and security are a major factor of mobile data collection technology solutions. Gamma Solutions provides sophisticated data protection concepts and works with your host supplier to co-ordinate your corporate data integrity objectives.It also provides consulting services in fields including software development, management, bar code technology, and quality management.www.gammasolutions.com