BEDMINSTER, NJ -- Public Service Electric & Gas customers in New Jersey will be the first in the nation to benefit from the wide-scale deployment of Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile wireless data technology that promises to reduce costs, speed service restoration and improve customer service, the companies announced today.
In the largest application of Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) technology to date, more than 750 field service workers in PSE&G's gas service business will use pen-based computers to send and receive real-time information on repair requests and customer orders over the Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile cellular network.
CDPD is a technology which efficiently transmits short bursts or packets of data over the cellular infrastructure. Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile offers CDPD service under the AirBridge(SM) Packet name.
Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile Vice President Lonnie Lauer said his company has moved quickly to design wireless packet data services to meet the needs of New Jersey customers.
"AirBridge Packet service will enable PSE&G service people to be a more efficient and effective workforce," said Stan Kosierowski, PSE&G's director of the gas service business. "This direct wireless connection to our field service specialists make us more responsive to our customers, reduce order processing and travel time, and increase 'wrench time' -- time spent actually working at customer homes.
"There will be significant cost savings in the time we're spending on paper processing. We'll be able to better serve more customers because access to real-time information will reduce the number of recurring orders, provide better resource management and support our service guarantee commitments," Kosierowski said.
Under the old system, service calls are transmitted by radio from one of two call centers to regional dispatchers and to field personnel who write down details on repair calls and orders. Once a particular job is completed, a time sheet is filled out and the information is called into a dispatcher, who manually enters it into the database. The call and dispatch centers cannot track customer calls.
The new system will let field personnel directly receive real-time information on customer orders, repair requests and existing maintenance contracts and previous problems. Once a job is completed, details are entered onto the pen-based computer and sent back in real time to the appropriate databases.
"Our alliance with Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile is just one of the ways in which we meet and exceed the customer service guarantees announced in July," Kosierowski said. "We are guaranteeing our customer that we will do everything possible to meet their service expectations and if we fall short, they will receive bill credits in return."
"No other wireless carrier can match the coverage and utility of our CDPD network," Lauer said. "For a relatively new technology, CDPD has proven itself a viable 'industrial-strength' service that has widespread potential. The quality of the Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile network is allowing organizations in both the public and private sectors to re-engineer the flow of critical information. The technology is already working for law enforcement agencies, including the Bridgewater Police here in New Jersey, and others along the Northeast Corridor."
The PSE&G contract represents the largest CDPD deployment announced to date, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's data system was chosen over a number of other wireless services tested by PSE&G over the past two years. Only CDPD was found to meet the utility's high throughput requirements. CDPD also offers a completely open and widely supported standard, inherent encryption, and a specification based on the widely used Internet protocol (TCP/IP) for ease of implementation by customers.
"By choosing to integrate Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's CDPD technology into its Gas Service Information System, PSE&G has demonstrated its commitment to use the best, most advanced technology available to serve customers and take the lead in the increasingly competitive utility business," Lauer said. "Utility companies throughout our region and across the nation will be watching this system -- and following in PSE&G's footsteps."
Under the terms of the five-year contract, PSE&G will begin phasing in the new system in the Plainfield area in central New Jersey. Deployment will expand to include dispatch centers in Clifton and Summit in the northern part of the state and Burlington in the south. Training and installation will begin later this year and service specialists will begin using the system in February of next year. Completion is scheduled for September 1996. The value of the contract was not disclosed.
NYNEX is a global communications and media company that provides a full range of services in the northeastern United States and high-growth markets around the world, including the United Kingdom, Thailand, Gibraltar, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
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