When looking to improve the capabilities of its staff in the field, Tasmania’s Aurora Energy turned to Motion Computing for a proven, tablet-based solution.

Aurora Energy is a fully integrated energy and network business with complementary activities in telecommunications and energy-related technologies. With much of its business processes consisting of fieldwork including meter reading, pole and asset inspection and outage response, Aurora Energy was familiar with mobile computers, having used them in the field for some time.

However, due to the age of its mobile computers, Aurora re-evaluated its requirements in consideration of a bulk replacement strategy. Further, Aurora needed a platform to support its ‘Turn up once’ strategy.

Aurora’s field workforce is becoming more multi-skilled as demonstrated by ‘Turn up once’, and needed to be supported by technology solutions in alignment. As such, the utilisation of a feature rich mobile computing platform with an easy-to-use, fully integrated set of features was critical.

Key requirements included:

• All aspect high visibility screen;

• Fast boot times;

• Camera;

• Barcode scanner;

• Increased durability for outdoor environment;

• SOE friendly;

• Easy to use form-factor.

Further, Aurora needed real-time access to back office asset information and intelligence in order to operate effectively and efficiently and was limited in its choices of a rugged mobility solution, due to the legacy of Windows-based applications that the business uses on a day-to-day basis.

The Motion solution

After investigating available tablets, Motion Computing was selected because of what it offered as a whole package – namely a rugged format, ease of use, weight, screen viewability and Windows compatibility.

Motion Computing’s sales partner to Aurora Energy, Intuit Technologies, then sourced the tablets and has worked with Aurora Energy’s Business Analyst Pat Luttrell, to integrate Motion F5 tablets into the business processes.

“Intuit Technologies continues to support our rollouts and provide ongoing assistance with the purchase of hardware and accessories. We are currently working closely with Intuit to ensure that our fleet of Motion tablets is further leveraged and utilised in the business,” said Ms Luttrell.

“The capabilities of the Motion solution cater to Aurora’s needs, namely the ability to support more than 20 specialised applications used by the client,” said Intuit’s Nicola Cox.

“We were looking to give our field crews the ability to stay connected while out in the field, allowing them to readily access information and make informed decisions on the spot,” said Ms Luttrell.

“And the screen quality is also a major improvement, with the ‘view anywhere’ screen providing a display that is clear and crisp. It is easy to view in direct sunlight which is critical for our field crews,” she added.

“Beyond this, the ‘on-board’ camera is being used to capture images of faults and issues out in the field, with images being redlined/annotated and then sent back to the office for other staff to investigate. We are also looking into the use of the on-board GPS unit to geocode our photos,” she said.

With hardware characteristics specifically designed for durability in adverse environments, the tablet’s integrated handle makes it easy for field workers to carry; and its outdoor screen eliminates any worries about the sun’s glare impacting screen visibility.

The results

The deployment of Motion’s F5 tablets has directly improved Aurora Energy’s productivity and has reduced penalty payouts due to jobs being dispatched and received without delay. This is via the direct connectivity with the network allowing for access to information whilst in remote sites, consequently saving on travel time and reducing site revisits.

“Motion tablets have allowed our staff to remain connected with the network, allowing for work packs to be sent and received immediately,” said Ms Luttrell. “The business can access the tablets while they are out in the field, allowing for updates and support to be performed remotely, eliminating the need for the tablet to return to base.” 

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