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British Gas has invested in Dell Windows 8 tablets to help meet what it sees as "tight" smart meter rollout deadlines set by the government.

British Gas has invested in Dell Windows 8 tablets to help meet what it sees as "tight" smart meter rollout deadlines set by the government.

Prior to investing in the Windows 8 tablets, British Gas was using ruggedised tablets that lacked the features and ease of use needed by its smart meter engineers, said the energy firm.

British Gas brought in IT services firm Computacenter to complete the deployment, which has seen it roll out Dell Latitude 10 tablets to 1,200 smart meter engineers.

As a result, British Gas says it is now in a better position to roll-out smart meters to all its customers by 2020, the deadline set by the government to supply smart meters to all 53 million UK homes as part of a national smart meter roll-out.

Computacenter was responsible for sourcing, testing, pre-configuring and asset tagging the devices before delivering them to British Gas sites.

Smart meter engineers use the new tablets to support every stage of the smart meter installation process. This includes receiving their jobs and updates through the day, workflow through different types of jobs, as well as the commissioning activities for smart gas and electricity meters.

Using the new devices has simplified their day-to-day tasks, and improved employee satisfaction, productivity and customer service, British Gas says.

Alan Fairhurst, technical consulting manager at British Gas Strategic Systems, said: “The IT devices engineers use have a big impact on their productivity. We need them to be able to focus on their customers and the job in hand, without worrying about IT issues and downtime.”

The devices are also used to take photos of installed smart meters for future records.