Endesa Electrical Distribution, the largest electrical company in Europe, has chosen Symbol's MC9000 mobile computers to help its field services team to read customer meters. The solution has been rolled out to 55% of workers as part of Endesa's wider ALMA (application of readings for improving activity) project.
"We have already seen many improvements thanks to Symbol's MC9000 mobile computers," said Joaquín Diaz Quirós, measurement representative of the Endesa Group. "Among the most remarkable advantages is the ability to download and transmit data from the mobile computer without the need for the reader to be present in the office or connected to a PC."
"Before the implementation of ALMA and the Symbol MC9000 mobile computers, the information captured in the field could only be collated at the end of the day, when the devices were returned to the service provider's facilities. The previous solution also lacked support for WAN or LAN connectivity and didn't offer Web browsing capabilities, which meant that a docking station and PC were needed for the information to be downloaded and received. The MC9000 mobile computers eliminated the docking port process, and employee productivity has improved significantly as a result," explained Diaz Quirós.
The challenges led Endesa to investigate other options as part of a wider billing process automation initiative, which included the implementation of an extranet, integrated with the corporate portal. The portal allows Endesa's meter reading partners to download each day's readings, and then input information about customer consumption through the Web.
Although the meter reading activity and all the associated resources are the responsibility of its meter reading partners, Endesa certifies the technology to be used with the aim of making their work easier and always offers at least two alternative suppliers, according to Diaz Quiros, "Internet and the Web technologies are the standard ways we communicate with our meter reading partners, so we wanted to extend their support from our portal to the other end of the billing process chain: the terminals used to read customer meters. With this in mind, the new terminals had to include a standard browser, and support a range of wireless technologies and the Windows Pocket PC operating system. They also had to be extremely robust, to withstand bumps, humidity and dust out in the field, while having a battery that could power the device for the entire working day."
Following these criteria, Endesa selected numerous terminals to review. Symbol's partner, Telvent Interactive, recommended the Symbol MC9000 mobile computer that would best meet their needs. Currently, 650 MC9000 mobile computers (approximately 55% of the total) are supplied to Endesa by Telvent Interactive, along with a six year maintenance service.