DAP Technologies Limited, a subsidiary of Neptune Technology Group Inc. and a supplier of rugged mobile field computers to the utility industry, has announced that its sister company, DB Microware, has been selected by American Electric Power Company (AEP) to install a new, modern, state-of-the-art meter reading system.AEP is the 5 th major utility company to select FieldNet and the Microflex CE5320 handheld computers; others include Allegheny Power, Northeast Utilities, Progress Energy, and PacifiCorp.
The system will use the CE5320 handheld computers which are designed for use in rugged environments and can sustain severe shock,operate in a wide range of temperatures, and are impervious to driving rains.DAP’s units have traditional keyboards as well as touch screens that allow the meter reader to enter data in an intuitive and rapid manner.
The new system will streamline the utility’s capability to record timely and accurate meter readings, assuring accurate customer billing on a timely basis. DB Microware previously provided AEP a meter reading route optimization system called ARCS (Automated Route Control System), which is in use today at AEP and many other utilities across the USA.The new system, called FieldNet, combines ARCS with a route management meter reading system and field service system into one comprehensive and easy to use package. Use of the Windows CE platform provides an application system that simplifies and speeds up the acquisition of usage data including keyed readings as well as probed data from modern intelligent meters. Off-site meter reading is also supported through the use of integrated RF capability. The AEP implementation will begin with 150 handheld computers and grow to over 1000 by the end of the planned roll-out schedule.Wayne Pugh, AEP ’s Director of Field Revenue Operations said, “We completed an extensive review of available meter reading systems and found that the DAP rugged field computers and the DB Microware FieldNet software provide the first really new meter reading solution in the last 15 years. With its Windows CE features and high speed Ethernet communications, the new system brings meter reading directly into the corporate communications network.”
Tim Weidner,President of DB Microware,indicated, “The new software not only supports the meter reading function which includes probing and radio reads but also incorporates facilities to handle work orders and operates with the latest computer and communications technologies. All of this will allow AEP to save significant operational dollars and do an even more efficient job for its customers.”
Antonio Lara, Vice President of North American Sales,states, “The CE5320 offers the most innovative hardware available in a rugged device, is highly configurable, and is one of the fastest CE-based industrial terminals in the world.This well-above-average-performing unit, combined with FieldNet software, offers a very robust and state-of-the-art solution for the utility industry and should please AEP for years to come.”