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AA deploys Toughbook laptops for road patrols

The AA is deploying 4,000 Panasonic Toughbook laptops using CLAM software from Midlands-based access specialist Centralis, for its breakdown patrols.

The laptops will give patrols advanced diagnostic capabilities, helping them pinpoint electrical or mechanical problems quickly and accurately.

Panasonic CF28 Toughbooks are robust, with magnesium alloy cases and shock-mounted hard disks. To ensure physical security, they are locked in a metal cradle inside the vehicle. The machines communicate with diagnostic probes via Bluetooth.

The patrol PCs contain call receipt and dispatch technology, global positioning satellite tracking and full nationwide mapping systems.

They also feature a customised, locked-down desktop, Centralis CLAM, which replaces the Windows shell with a secure, centrally managed interface. 

John Dickinson, product manager for CLAM at Centralis, said, "The laptops are preconfigured to a secure standard build before they are delivered to the roadside patrols. CLAM locks that security in place and ensures that there is no unauthorised access, and no additional software can be installed or run."

Chris Bailey, head of business systems for AA Road Operations, said, "This allows the AA to maintain the build quality, integrity and resilience of the patrol's laptop PC, improving the reliability and availability of the systems for the patrol.

"This, in turn, has helped to maintain a low cost base for the general support of the laptops."


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