Southern Water is about to embark on an IT project to upgrade the mobile devices and applications used by 800 field engineers.
The project will take less than two months and the company's managed service provider Telepartner will carry out the work.
The project will involve porting existing field applications from Symbian-based Nokia 9210 smartphones that have reached the end of their life to the latest Vodafone V1605 Windows Mobile 5 device. Telepartner will use mobile application configuration tool ServiceNet Composer to port the applications.
Southern Water has the option to switch from a GSM system to a managed GPRS network in the future.
The water utility has used Telepartner for its mobile field service system since 1999, initially with the Nokia 9110 and subsequently the Nokia 9210.
The customer care call centre sends reports of incidents such as water leaks to mobile engineers via the MIMS central work and asset management system. These jobs are allocated to the field force by Southern Water’s round-the-clock control centre.
Jobs sent out to the field workforce may involve a gang digging down to trace and fix a leaking water main, or a single worker dealing with an emergency at night.
“This is a project that would have taken many months a short time ago,” said Patrick Jolly, Telepartner’s sales manager. “Southern Water uses a comprehensive, sophisticated mobile application which covers work orders for planned and emergency task types, with support for multiple job types and updates, equipment, NRSWA [New Roads and Street Works Act] reporting and operational stats.”
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