UK Power Networks Energizes its Business Transformation with Panasonic Toughpad Tablets

UK Power Networks owns and maintains the electricity cables and lines across London and surrounding areas, keeping the lights on for 8 million customers. Its 2,500 field engineers maintain and upgrade power equipment, move and connect new electricity cables and carry out maintenance near or on overhead power lines.

When UK Power Networks implemented a “Business Transformation” process to improve customer service and make savings through efficiencies, a fundamental step in the process was equipping its field engineers with a single, mobile computing device that would allow them to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

“For me transformation is about providing better customer service,” said Liam O’Sullivan, Program Director Business Transformation, UK Power Networks. “It’s about reducing costs of course but it’s also about the way in which we do work. Doing work better, doing it more efficiently and making sure we provide the best service we can to customers.”

“Our colleagues can be found up poles and down holes and often in very difficult working environments so the mobile device we chose was critical to the success of the project,” said Jon Mason, a UK Power Networks lead field engineer and seconded head of mobile solutions for Business Transformation.

After reviewing several mobile device options, the business selected a shortlist and established a mobile working group across all three of its operating regions to trial the devices, made up of lead field engineers, field staff supervisor, fitters, jointers, linesman and other staff. Alongside the trial, the company also organized a mobility day where 150 business representatives, comprising field staff and all levels of management, evaluated the devices and discussed the functionality with vendors. They ultimately decided on the Toughpad FZ-G1.

With its MIL-STD-810G and IP65-rated resistance to dust, dirt, water, drops, shock, extreme temperatures and more, the Windows-powered Toughpad FZ-G1 is an ideal tool for the field staff of UK Power Networks. The device is also equipped with small but important features, such as the LED light on the tablet camera, which was not available on other devices the business tested.

“The design of the Panasonic Toughpad tablet had been clearly thought through for the utilities industry,” Jon said. “Often working underground or in dark environments, the LED light on the camera is an essential feature for our staff for effective image capture.”

Today, the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet is being rolled out to 2,500+ field staff across the business, for whom the device is a critical communication tool. The engineers are able to access real-time and offline maps, asset information, health and safety and policy and procedure information. They then report and record their activity on the device and the information is relayed in real-time back to the central systems.

“The Panasonic Toughpad tablets are an essential element of our business transformation program and Panasonic has delivered on everything we asked for and some,” said Jon. “It was very important to us that the workforce had a strong voice in the choice of the device and that there was high user acceptance,” said Jon. “They put the devices through their paces and the rugged Panasonic Toughpad tablet won hands down.”

For more information on the UK Power Networks Toughpad deployment, watch the video case study below.