npower is one of the UK's largest energy suppliers. It generates electricity and supplies gas, electricity and related services to around 6.6 million customers through its retail business. Vital to their Energy Service operations are the hand held devices used by their team of mobile field engineers for meter reading and meter installation.
npower's existing estate of hand held devices were no longer made by the manufacturer, and their support was also being discontinued. It became evident that an upgrade would be necessary to keep mission critical field service operations running. npower wanted two devices; one which could be used to capture meter reading information and one to manage meter installations in residential and business properties. The devices for Meter Installations needed to have GPRS, a barcode scanner and to preferably be non-rugged. The meter reading devices also had to have GPRS and be rugged, specifically water resistant. In the selection criteria npower also considered future proofing technologies including 3G and GPS. Moreover npower wanted a supplier who could offer a fully managed support and maintenance service for up to 1300 devices it was looking to purchase. After employing a global management and technology services consultancy to help them evaluate and select the appropriate devices, npower issued tenders and bids were received from several suppliers.
For npower's Meter Reading business they chose a solution from Psion Teklogix in partnership with Ryzex, who could provide a solution featuring up to 900 Psion Teklogix iKôn devices.
The rugged iKôn PDA from Psion Teklogix will ultimately form the bulk of npower's new estate of devices and provides the ideal mobile computing device thanks to the great deal of functionality packaged in a compact form with class-leading ergonomics, aesthetics and ease of use.
Ryzex wrapped the supply of up to 910 Psion iKôns, together with 430 other devices, into a comprehensive service agreement including a ﬁve year maintenance contract all run from Ryzex 's world-class, UK-based repair facility.
The large VGA screen of the iKôn allows this PDA to handle applications using sophisticated graphics and can be easily read in all lighting conditions while a high battery capacity ensures full-day productivity for npower's mobile workers.
Being vendor neutral and supporting a broad range of manufacturers, Ryzex was able to offer several hardware options to npower based on their experience in the mobile worker and utilities sectors. npower signed a ﬁve year managed service agreement with Ryzex, which has an official repair partnership with Psion Teklogix, to ensure continuity of support for this device. The ruggedness of Psion Teklogix's iKôn combined with Ryzex's ability to provide repair cover, ensures that any disruption to npower's operations and associated down time costs are kept to an absolute minimum.