O2 implements managed text solution for naval base support staff

O2 today announces the successful implementation of a managed text solution for Fleet Support Ltd. (FSL) to provide improved communications with its field staff. The naval support company, which manages the Fleet Maintenance and Repair Organisation at Portsmouth Naval Base, has been able to improve workforce utilisation by 24%.   The text service allows FSL’s managers to communicate changes in work schedules at short notice to their facilities management team whilst they are out on call.  The service is managed entirely by O2’s partner and managed text specialist Infracast.   Fleet Support manages the 450-acre Portsmouth Naval Base, one of the largest industrial sites in the South of England and is responsible for the repair and maintenance of surface ships and logistics services for the Royal Navy.  Prior to the roll-out of the managed text solution, workers downloaded their schedules once a day onto handheld PDAs using fixed docking ports.   However, with a military operation priorities change throughout the day and urgent tasks can come up with little or no warning, with staff only logging-on once a day the system needed more flexibility. The managed text service implemented by O2 and Infracast is able to provide this with minimal capital outlay and technical expertise necessary from FSL.   Users access the system via a secure web-interface, which allows Head Office to send SMS messages via O2’s network to groups of users or individuals. It also allows delivery tracking so that users do not have to stay constantly online, this means that any responses to the service are routed via email to user accounts. O2 has also been able to provide FSL with its cost-efficient bulk SMS tariff, giving FSL large reductions on its messaging costs.   David Gibbs, Head of Information Systems, Fleet Support Ltd. commented: “O2 and Infracast’s managed text solution has improved the service we provide to the MOD by helping us to deploy our staff more effectively. Not only can we ensure that teams can re-prioritise work schedules to address the most important tasks first, but the two-way communication aspect lets our staff alert us to problems on site faster. We cover more ground in a day, with the most important jobs completed first, which ultimately means our output increases.”   No technical outlay or expertise was required as the service is entirely hosted on one of Infracast’s secure dedicated servers in Reading. Added security is provided by a second server at a separate site in London that fully mirrors the first, giving a completely redundant disaster recovery capability.     David Angers, Technology Director Corporate at Infracast added: “Fleet Support didn’t want to invest in additional hardware or expertise to manage any solution internally so Infracast’s completely managed service was the best option for them.”   Ben Dowd, General Manager Business Sales at O2 added: “This is a great example of how O2 is able to add value to a customer’s business by identifying solutions that they had no idea were possible.  For Fleet Support, a managed text solutions is ideal – it is a cost-effective method of holding two-way communications with large numbers of users.”    The solution has been so well received that Fleet Support is investigating rolling it out company wide using O2’s Xda Mini device to combine both the PDA used to download the work schedule and the mobile handsets for voice.