The AA rolls-out 3000 Panasonic rugged tablets to its patrols to improve communications and customer service
When the UK’s largest recovery breakdown service decided to refresh the mobile technology for its 3000 patrols to improve communications and customer service, the AA chose Panasonic’s rugged Toughpad FZ-G1 tablets and its vehicle docking solution.
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BRACKNELL, UK. 19th SEPTEMBER 2017
The AA had successfully been using Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 rugged notebooks to help patrols respond to the average 10,000 breakdown calls that they receive daily but after improvements to its central mobile application, the company was keen to upgrade the technology and vehicle docking solution to take advantage of new functionality.
The AA conducted a thorough assessment of the mobile devices on the market and ultimately chose the Panasonic Toughpad FZ- G1 tablet.
“One of the biggest things I have noticed is how portable the new device is. It is nice and lightweight, easy to manoeuvre and easy to use outside the van. As we are now using the device to capture customer signatures, I have also seen how accurate and sensitive the touchscreen is. It is spot on for our needs,” said John Snowling, AA Patroller of the Year.
In particular, the AA wanted to improve the connectivity and communication capability of the device and improve the service patrols could offer customers during a call out.
Mark Dawson, the Transformation Programme Manager for Road Operations for the AA, said: “One of the historical challenges for the patrols was securing a mobile data connection for the devices in some remote locations. This could delay the recording and reporting of information during call outs.”
The Panasonic Toughpad device is the primary tool for patrols when responding to breakdown calls. The patrols accept jobs via the device, locate the breakdown using GPS and let the customer service centre know when they have arrived on site. The device also interfaces with the AA’s vehicle diagnostic tool to help fault find in the field. AA Technicians can also search online for specialist knowledge, order replacement parts before completing the task and closing the job; and communicate information and extra services to clients whilst assisting them.
With a field test of more than 200 devices, the improved 3G and 4G connectivity was proven. The final important element in the decision was the offer by Panasonic to custom design, build and crash test a slim vehicle docking solution for the devices that could be fitted to the eight different vehicles used by the AA patrols.
The Panasonic Global Docking Solutions and Professional Services team designed the new slim docking solution from the ground up. Designed to be mounted on the dashboard of the vehicles, it was important that the dock could be swivelled for the device to face the operator or the curb side of the vehicle. Other important requirements incorporated into the design were a pass through antenna to improve connectivity to mobile networks and a connection for an external GPS module for maps to locate customers. Access to multiple ports on the device, such as LAN and VGA were also included.
Panasonic Professional Services was also contracted by the AA to manage the installation of the docking solution in all 3,000 vehicles, over a three-month period, with a 99.8% first time success rate.
Designed to be tested
The fully rugged Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet with Windows 10 Pro sets the new benchmark for outdoor viewable tablets making it ideal for field workforces in outdoor scenarios. With its capacitive, 10-finger multi-touch display and digitizer pen and flexible configurable ports this device can be used to view high definition documentation and images in the field whilst benefitting from connectivity options to ensure data is always available when needed. The flexible configuration port gives business users the legacy port options they require in a compact, fully rugged and lightweight form factor.
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About Panasonic System Communications Company Europe (PSCEU)
PSCEU is the European branch of Panasonic Systems Communications Company, the global B2B division of Panasonic. PSCEU’s goal is to improve the working lives of business professionals and help their organisations’ efficiency and performance. We help organisations capture, compute and communicate all sorts of information: image, voice, and textual data. Products include PBX telephone switches, document printers, professional cameras, projectors, large visual displays, rugged mobile PCs and fire alarms solutions. With around 400 staff, engineering design expertise, global project management capability and a large European partner network, PSCEU offers unrivalled capability in its markets.
PSCEU is made up of four product categories:
Communication Solutions, including professional scanners, multifunctional printers, telephony systems and SIP terminal devices.
Visual System Solutions, including projectors and professional displays. Panasonic offers the widest range of Visual products, and leads the European projector market with 28% revenue share. (Futuresource B2B market tracking, Q1/2014)
Professional Camera Solutions, including Broadcast & ProAV products, security, fire alarm systems and industrial medical vision (IMV) technology. Panasonic is one of the top two professional camera vendors in Europe.
Computer Product Solutions helps mobile workers improve productivity with its range of Toughbook rugged notebooks, Toughpad business tablets and electronic point of sales (EPOS) systems. As European market leaders, Panasonic Toughbook had a 66% revenue share of sales of rugged and durable notebooks and Panasonic Toughpad held a 59% revenue share of sales of rugged business tablets in 2015 (VDC Research, March 2016).
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