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Case Study

Northumbrian and Essex/Suffolk Water

Helping Northumbrian and Essex/Suffolk water to read meters


Northumbrian and Essex and Suffolk water boards are responsible for over 2500 square miles of water provision, serving a large part of the UK's reservoirs and fresh water to both homes and businesses.

The Problem

This was a joint project where both Northumbrian water and Essex & Suffolk water companies came to us for help with replacing their meter reading devices. Currently they were using cheaper rugged smartphones purchased from a cheap smartphone provider and despite the up front cost being lower, they were now suffering as a business with excessive repair rates and indeed getting any kind of timely repair service at all. Add to this technology was aging and they had very little in the shape of business support for their growing device estates. The main challenges to this project were:

They needed a super rugged device Despite being rugged, their current devices were just not coping with the rigours of reading meters on a daily basis and their damage/repair rates were extremely high. Good battery life All day battery was required, but the largest battery possible was ideally sought. Good GPS and camera Fast, accurate GPS was required for quick location storage and a decent camera is required for proof of presence and meter reading verification. They needed decent support Repairs of current devices were at best adhoc, not of a professional level and were actually now not even an option as cheaper devices simply do not maintain a support road map. This was costing a lot in time and money. They needed business input Ideally from an experienced utilities provider, they needed a partner who could get involved at times on a technical level with their partners to help provide a more coherent and robust solution.

All of these issues were meaning that too many devices were out of action at any one time and as such the device estate was getting too mixed due to managers having to quickly buy emergency replacements as required.

The Solution

Raptor has deep and established utilities and field service experience, with over 15 years experience serving into these markets and right from the first meeting this showed. We were quickly able to field any questions and start the project off in the right direction, and with our relationships with key utilities software providers we were quickly able to understand the current issues and also provide alternative solutions to the Hardware and also IT required for the project.

The Raptor R5X was a clear candidate for this project. Not only is it used by 1000's of Meter readers already, but we were able to provide repair and support statistics of its performance since its launch, which put the clients repair fears at ease from the word go. The R5X is also an IP68 device with a heavy duty drop and tumble spec which makes it perfect for extreme rugged, outdoor scenarios. Add to this with an impact protector provided free with each device, it further protects the screen that was the most common element that broke.

Multi device loans were sent out to each client and tested went very successfully, with not one repair needed during extended real life trials.

With a class leading 9000mAh battery, the R5X also proved that it had extreme lasting power in field usage that the clients were extremely impressed with. whislt the dual GPS network GPS chip and 13MP Samsung CCD camera with quad LED flash performed very well for the clients needs.

With the R5X proving itself, we then allowed the support team to come in and present how the Raptorhub Portal could address all of their support needs. With multi-user logins, easy setup and simple, quick logging of repairs with reporting, we showed that even with our more basic Raptor Halo service, we would be able to provide everything they needed.

Lastly we also discussed providing a heavy duty handstrap for the R5X. Within 4 weeks, our in-house fabrication team had brand new, heavy duty plastics and a new hand strap sent out to the trials for testing.

Technology Used

Raptor R5X Device R5X heavy duty hand srap and impact protection screen Raptor Provisioning service Raptor HALO support