Ruggedised Mobile Computing: Telstra Case Study – 4 Years On

In 2003, Telstra decided to equip its Communication Technicians in the Service Delivery division with notebook PCs in place of the Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) that were being used at the time.

Feasibility studies were conducted that identified significant cost savings to the business under the proposed solution and the decision was made to introduce the Panasonic Toughbook CF-18. This decision resulted from the consideration of a broad range of benefits associated with the notebook such as its durability, battery life, touch screen and the readability of the display in the bright sunlight. Between July 2004 and June 2005, Telstra deployed 3,679 Panasonic Toughbook CF-18. The devices have been used intensively for the last four years and Telstra has decided to refresh the fleet with the Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 MK II. Around 2,700 units were rolled out between August and December 2008, and an upgrade to 1,000 units will follow from January 2009.

As a result of the deployment of the Panasonic Toughbook CF-18, Telstra moved from a historic generic failure rate of 25% of devices to an estimated 3.7% failure rate.

The objective of this paper is to examine the success of the first wave of ruggedised notebooks in terms of realised benefits compared to expected benefits, and overall satisfaction of Telstra with the product. Telstra’s selection process for the 2008/2009 refresh and the resulting changes in logistic processes will also be presented in this paper.