The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) is using tablet PCs from Motion Computing to improve the management of its 90,000 properties.

The NIHE is one of the province’s largest public sector organisations. It has a budget of over £600 million and a staff of over 3,000.

To help manage its "intensive" reporting requirements, NIHE decided its surveyors needed a mobile and ruggedised device. Analysis and results from the NIHE are now available six months ahead of previous schedules, at a cost saving of approximately £200,000.

The NIHE has chosen the Motion F5 rugged tablet PC. The tablets were configured, deployed and supported by Box Technologies, a value added distributor for Motion Tablets in the UK.

The F5 is being used as an alternative to pens and paper, and management benefits through using the devices include an increased number of property inspections, the electronic data capture of property details, and expedited sharing of property data between staff.

The tablet runs a proprietary survey software solution developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) on behalf of the NIHE. BRE’s brief was to replicate the organisation's paper-based method with an electronic alternative.

BRE has developed a system that requires no paper and facilitates data validation in the field, which has led to better data quality and allows surveyors to be managed through an online bespoke management system.

In addition, the integrated digital cameras on the Motion F5s are used to capture images, which are then easily incorporated into electronic forms, to further improve reporting and documentation.

NIHE head of research Joe Frey said the combination of the tablets with the BRE software was a "resounding success" for the organisation.

In separate tablet news, Acer has previewed tablet computers planned for release next year, including three Android-based devices and one that runs Windows. The supplier has also detailed plans to introduce a portable computer that has the form factor of a laptop, but it will replace the keyboard with a second touchscreen.