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Hand Held Products, the world's leading supplier of image-based data capture solutions, has won a major contract with E.ON Energy Services for hundreds of Dolphin(r) 9500 mobile computers, sourced and supplied by Spirit Data Capture Limited.

Each year, E.ON Energy Services reads gas and electricity meters in over 12 million UK households: a task that must be carried out quickly, accurately and reliably.  Its Metering Services section recently started to explore alternative data capture devices.

David Collard, Head of Technical Support, Data Retrieval, explains: "We wanted a rugged device to which we could add complementary technology.  It also needed to be easy to maintain."  From a shortlist of suppliers, E.ON's Procurement team chose Spirit Data Capture, an independent consultancy specialising in automated data collection.

Spirit  proposed the Dolphin(r) 9500 mobile computer from Hand Held Products, which incorporates state-of-the-art wireless technology with an industry-leading triple-radio design that offers real time data collection. It is very durable and offers a full alphanumeric keyboard capability.  It also has a battery with a high power capacity: ideal for mobile applications.

David continues: "We opted for the Dolphin following our meter reader evaluation trials.  We like its robustness, its ergonomics, and the processor it uses.  It also works well with our meter reading software.  The trial group thought that it was well designed, and that the screen was both clear and responsive."

E.ON is rolling out several hundred Dolphins over a three year period. Initially, meter readers will use modems to transmit data from the Dolphins. Ultimately, GPRS will be used to transmit data instantly from the field.

David says: "The reliability of the Dolphins should reduce both downtime and repair costs.  We also expect to achieve significant cost savings by using GPRS.  Technically, we really like the faster processor, the availability of both Bluetooth and GPRS, and the Pocket PC operating system."

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