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Technology / AI and automation


Nixdorf Computer Ltd has beaten ICL Ltd and Unisys Corp to a UKP20m contract from British Gas Plc for point of sale retail systems in gas showrooms. British Gas chose Nixdorf ahead of ICL and Unisys in the final round of selection; the outcome is a blow for ICL, the major computer supplier to British Gas – of the corporation’s 83 mainframes, for instance, 64 are from ICL. British Gas considered Nixdorf’s equipment to be the most suitable for communications with its ICL, IBM and Unisys mainframes; the corporation says the issue of open standards was also an important factor in its final choice. The deal means that Nixdorf will supply systems to 728 British Gas showrooms, in all 12 UK regions, initially for a three year period. The terminal based hardware is based on Nixdorf’s retail and banking systems, and will deal mainly with customer accounts and appliance sales; the network will be built around Nixdorf’s 8860 node processors, which will provide on-line access to British Gas mainframes, and provide SNA, X25 and Ethernet communications. Nixdorf will also supply readers, screens and printers; the software is based on its Nistor-Era retail package. British Gas says the investment was carried out as part of the modernisation of its retailing operations; half of its 2m billpayers use gas showrooms to settle accounts. British Gas rejected IBM, DEC, Hoskyns Group Plc, Olivetti and NCR Corp in first round of tendering.

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