22 February 2010 – Energie du Mali (EDM) is upgrading the handheld units used by its meter readers, with the first of approximately 250 DAP Technologies’ CE3240B rugged handheld computers being deployed this month to zone agents throughout the western African nation.
EDM is one of first utilities companies in Africa to transition to a computer-based system for reading meters and logging customer usage with DAP’s CE5000B in use since 2004. While the CE3240B packs in many of the same features as its predecessor with enhanced functionality and processing power, the overall design of the unit has been overhauled to make it smaller and lighter and thus lessen user fatigue.
With the CE3240B, data will be transmitted by WiFi over the local area network and also by GPRS real time to the back office server. From there, the integrated solution developed in conjunction with AS Consulting will automatically update the billing system. The outcome will be a faster, more efficient transfer of data that eliminates the need for zone agent to physically visit the main office to download data.
DAP has also customized a special connector for Energie du Mali that allows an automatic reading of the meter index using optical probe. Whereas zone agents could spend 10 minutes performing a manual reading, the information is transmitted in seconds using the new connector.
“Energie du Mali was forward thinking in making the transition from a paper-based system to a computer-based one, and they are reaping the rewards of that decision in terms of increased operational efficiencies, decreased errors and lost data, as well as overall cost savings,” said Simon Bowe, general manager for DAP Technologies’ EMEA office. “With the upgrade to DAP’s CE3240B and by transmitting data using local and wide area wireless communications, they have the opportunity to increase efficiencies further.”