Centrica PLC Relies on Toughbook H1 Field to Aid in Smart Meter Installations

Centrica PLC is one of Europe’s largest energy providers, with a main presence in the U.K. (the British Gas brand). The company provides electricity and gas supply and technical services to around 14 million residential households and one million commercial customers.

In 2009, Centrica began rolling out smart meters to its customers – the first large-scale rollout in the U.K. In the next two decades, the company looks to rollout 50 million smart meters across the U.K. With over 100,000 smart meters already installed, Centrica is on track to complete two million installations by the end of 2012.

Before initiating this project, Centrica evaluated about 20 different types of mobile devices to aid in the installation and activation of meters. After assessing battery life, screen size and portability, Centrica selected the Panasonic Toughbook H1 Field. It was also important that the device was easy to navigate while wearing gloves. However, the H1 Field’s full Windows OS was the deciding factor since Centrica’s applications were natively built for that platform.

Other features of the H1 Field which are beneficial for smart meter technicians include GPS, protection against water and dust, wireless connectivity and shock-resistance.

You can find more information on rugged PCs for successful smart meter rollouts on the toughbloggers site here.