Portuguese Magellan Computers installed in UK Police Cars
About 1,500 vehicles of various British police forces are equipped with Portuguese Magalhães (Magellan) laptop computers, manufactured by JP Sá Couto, (Matosinhos, Portugal) who expects to sell another 20 million units by the end of this year.
In an interview with Lusa, the administrator of JP Sá Couto, João Paulo Sá Couto, explained that the business is in a partnership of 18 months with the English company ‘Tetratab’ whom, “after seeing a ‘Magellan’ with their main characteristics of robustness and ergonomics, thought it was a product that could be applied in police cars in England. ”
“Since then we have been creating some technical characteristics necessary to work through this system. The first cars to be tested were in London in March 2012 and at the moment we have 1,500 cars equipped with this system. For the first six months of 2013 we have a ‘business plan’ of over 10,000 units, totaling 20,000 units by the end of 2013,” he said.
According to João Paulo Sá Couto, it fell to JP Sá Couto to design and implement all the technical adjustments to the equipment – initially designed for use by children in schools – to adapt it to the needs of police forces.
“All the technical changes to the platform’s initial Magellan were made in our innovation & development department”, said the manager, explaining that the main changes were a higher definition screen, larger battery capacity and technical issues related to the connection of computer to a ‘docking station’ in the car.
According to the Portuguese businessman, “the build quality of the machine was highly valued in England,” as well as the fact that it is a very economical solution.
“Though we are in an economic crisis, this project is a ‘low cost’, and is identical to other solutions three times more expensive than this,” he said, revealing that “the complete solution (including ‘docking station’ computer ‘software’ keyboard and assistance) could be about 2000 euros. “
Considering that this is the ideal system “for emergency services, police and other business areas to explore,” João Paulo Sá Couto said that besides the various police forces in England, negotiations have begun to “enter other countries in Europe”, including Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. “For us it is a new business area that we consider very interesting and confirms that the ‘Magellan’, which is the main platform, continues to be a good machine, and robust to any niche market in any country,” he said.
Roger Marsden, from the exclusive commercial agent ‘Tetratab’ in the UK and former policeman, explained that the company went “looking for a device ‘tablet’ that was rugged, compact, portable, but also economic.”
“In 2007/8 the police (in the UK) used PDA, but realized they were too small and did not allow the policeman to do administrative work, such as reports and records, so everyone was looking for a larger device. The only available option was too costly and then we noticed this equipment from JP Sá Couto and we thought that if it was sturdy enough to be used by children, then it was also good for the police, who are like children and like throwing things to the ground, “he joked.
The main advantages of JP Sá Couto, Marsden emphasized, was that they could supply “small quantities to the customer and in a short time.”
Through a partnership with Vodafone, the solution could now be adapted to many other areas: “They soon realized that this solution is very good for mechanics, engineers, water services, gas and electricity, where workers need robust equipment but simple and economical. And at this level, this device is absolutely perfect,” he maintained.
“We intend to expand this solution in many ways. In the UK, it could be for fire services, maintenance personnel and other mobile workers. We already sell to 11 different countries in the European Union and we are constantly expanding,” said, executive director of ‘Tetratab’, Robert Lovelace.
Source: Correio da Manha