EDF Energy has purchased Panasonic Toughpad tablets for its Smart Meter rollout programme. The 1,000 Toughpad FZ-G1 Windows 8 tablets will be used by field operatives to receive and send job information for smart meter installation work. The UK Government has said all 53 million meters in 30 million homes in England, Wales and Scotland should be replaced with smart meters by 2020.
The new smart meters take accurate readings of energy usage every day and show how much energy is being used in pounds and pence. These readings are automatically sent to EDF Energy and consumers receive an accurate energy bill without having to submit meter readings.
Smart meters will help consumers gain a better understanding of the energy they use every day, putting them in control of their energy consumption.
EDF Energy smart meter field operatives will be using the Panasonic Toughpad tablets to receive scheduling information during the day and to send installation information back to the office. The tablet includes a camera and barcode reader for capturing digital images or scanning of the smart meter system's assets.
The device will be equipped with ZigBee wireless technology which EDF Energy and Panasonic are jointly developing, based on Industry Standard specifications for secure connections to smart metering equipment.
Niels Roberts, Smart Metering Programme Director at EDF Energy said: "The Toughpad is the ideal device for our large scale smart metering roll-out because it is robust and resilient, yet light and easy to handle. The touch screen makes it easier for our field operatives to capture and input essential data, which will provide innovative options for engaging our customers and providing the best possible experience for them".
The Toughpad FZ-G1 is Panasonic's first fully rugged Windows 8 Pro tablet, which has been designed for mobile workers who spend much of their time working outside or in vehicles. The thin and lightweight device offers two-way touch input with its capacitive 10-finger multi-touch screen and digitizer pen for tasks such as recording signatures.
It has a MIL-STD-810G rating to cope with 120cm drops as well as an IP65 ingress protection rating for resistance to dust and water.
With built-in battery saving technology such as its ambient light sensor, the Toughpad FZ-G1 can operate for 8 hours on its standard 6-cell battery and with an optional 9-cell battery can run for 16 hours.