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May 22, 2014

Thames Water selects the ‘Rolls Royce’ of the tablet world

Motion Computing’s rugged tablets help keep work processes fluid.

By Duncan Macrae

Thames Water has revealed its plan to standardise on the Motion F5te tablet PC for its above-ground asset management, maintenance and field service operations.

The F5te as chosen on the basis of it being the clear favourite throughout extensive user testing with 86% of users, when given the choice, preferring the Motion device over two alternatives.

Jon Regan, head of SAP Competency Centre in Thames Water, said: "Our trial included over 200 users and we tracked a range of factors, from general user perception, physical features and battery life to toughness, application usage and screen usability."

"When you get the kind of feedback that compares the F5te to Rolls Royce cars or that says ‘just about everything about the Motion tablet is better than the alternatives’, you have to listen to your users. Positive comments on the ergonomics, size, weight and design of the device, as well as the accuracy of the pen input, the photo editing application and the screen viewing angle were consistent across all users."

The device will be rolled out as part of a phased introduction this summer that will see Thames Water replace a fleet of legacy handheld devices. The tablet, running Windows 8, will run Thames Water’s SAP and ClickSoftware asset and field management systems. New capabilities of the tablet-based solution include the ability to take and share annotated, fully date, time and location stamped photographs of assets via SnapWorks, the touch-centric photo application for Motion tablets’ built-in cameras.

"This is not just about the popularity – or even the capabilities – of the Motion tablet PC that we have chosen. IT teams cannot live in an ivory tower and such strong collaboration between the IT team and end users does incredibly good things for confidence in the new kit and we anticipate strong adoption leading to improvements in productivity," said Regan.

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Ian Davies, country manager, Northern Europe, Motion Computing, said: "The tablet has rapidly become the dominant form factor for field service industries such as utilities precisely because it offers the end user a much better experience than handheld devices and can accommodate so much more, whilst being far easier to use than ruggedised laptops.

"The user tests for this roll out were exhaustive. We have participated in field tests for 200 users over 8 weeks across 14 sites, plus workshops and technical specifications. Such intensive tests are vital in demonstrating that utility companies can have complete confidence in Motion tablets as they explore options as part of technology refresh cycles or new projects."

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