IT technology enables paperless wastewater services

By Wendy Cramer, Journalist
Friday, 23 March, 2007

One of Australia's wastewater treatment providers is updating its mobile technology to speed up its services for clients and improve occupational health and safety for employees.

Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies will kit out service technicians that are monitoring drinking water and wastewater with Motion Computing's LE1600 tablet PCs.

IT manager at Veolia, Carl Pearson told Waste Streams that the tablets will enable technicians to work more efficiently. "They will improve communications, and enable quicker data entry and access to all of our operating and technical manuals while on site."

In practice, this will see technicians dispose of manual records and enable them to receive up-to-date information on occupational health and safety, equipment required in the field and a history of maintenance carried out at a particular site.

Incorporating tablet PCs into the service process will also enable the company to convert service forms, reports and invoices into an electronic format, eliminating the need for multiple handling and providing a faster and more accurate flow of information.

Importantly, Veolia says the introduction of tablets supports its sustainable development goals by moving towards a paperless environment.

Pearson says the tablets are earmarked for a number of functions when they first go out in the field:

  • The completion of SMART work orders - ensuring jobs are completed quickly with all the information they require.
  • The completion of safety paperwork.
  • Running of software used in day-to-day work, including programming and data logging software.
  • Email - ensuring technicians remain fully informed.
  • Access to Veolia's information management system.

The tablets will enable the company to provide new services, such as the transmission of electronic service reports to clients and the provision of Veolia's own safety paperwork to clients in electronic form.

Technicians will also be able to access full plant operating manuals and other support documents wherever they are located.

Veolia chose to go with the Motion Computing tablets as they were built for both indoor and outdoor use. The robust frame is made from a magnesium alloy and carbon fibre and the screen can be read in any light.

A motion protective case was specifically designed for use in inclement weather and the challenging environments that technicians face where bumps, dust and moisture are common.

"We considered the robustness, ergonomics and cost of several types of equipment," Pearson said. "Unlike the PDAs we trialled in 2006 and some other tablets we considered, the Motion tablets are suitable for both office and field work. Some of our senior management have even traded their laptops for Motion tablets."

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