Equitable Resources selects new system to manage mobile workers in customer service, construction and maintenance

RICHMOND, B.C., Aug. 27, 2001 — MDSI Mobile Data Solutions Inc., a provider of mobile workforce management systems, has contracted to supply Equitable Resources Inc. with its Advantexâ„- r7 solution.

Equitable will use Advantex to replace existing paper- and voice-based systems for managing customer service, construction and maintenance work.

“MDSI’s solution will help us meet every customer appointment and commitment, improve productivity, and provide us flexibility to re-deploy and manage our field workers, including those that maintain and build our infrastructure,” stated Ed Nolan, Equitable’s Sr. Vice President, Operations. “Based on projected productivity increases, we expect that Advantex r7 will be a prudent investment for Equitable.”

Equitable is the first customer to purchase Advantex r7 under a new delivery model that bundles the industry-standard baseline product with regularly scheduled future upgrades financed through recurring software license payments. Packaged in this way, Advantex provides customers with MDSI’s unparalleled, industry-specific knowledge of best practices in mobile workforce management, today and in the future, rapid deployment and an even higher return on investment.

According to Nolan, “It was a simple decision. Out of the box, Advantex is the most functional product of its kind. It is designed to meet the needs of utility companies, and has the configurability necessary to meet Equitable’s specific needs. By using the baseline product, the initial implementation goes much faster and we get the benefit of a simple, cost-effective upgrade path. The ROI with Advantex was compelling, but offered in this way it improves substantially.”

In a March 2001 report, AMR Research Inc. concluded that when economies experience slow periods, IT initiatives focus on opportunities to reduce costs and improve customer relations. According to MDSI® President and COO, Gerald F. Chew, MDSI’s solutions deliver precisely those benefits, particularly under the new delivery model.

“IT spending growth, if not IT spending in absolute dollars, is slowing, but the dollars are being focused on opportunities for cost efficiency and customer service-two primary benefits that our solutions deliver. Our new delivery model amplifies these benefits by reducing implementation time so mobile workers can start providing better service sooner,” stated Chew.

Advantex will manage the work of up to 400 of Equitable’s mobile workers, dispatchers and supervisors. Advantex intelligently schedules service requests and, using complex business rules, assigns them to the best available mobile resource. Advantex then dispatches work order details to the mobile resources who use the solution to process their work throughout the day, and send status updates and order completion information back to the office-all wirelessly, in real-time. This provides dispatchers and supervisors with up-to-the-minute information to effectively monitor and manage field service operations at all times. Advantex will be integrated with Equitable’s Customer Information System to guarantee a seamless customer service solution.

In combination with Advantex, Equitable expects to use CDPD wireless technology, laptops and hand-held devices to maintain connectivity with its mobile workers. “MDSI gives us plenty of flexibility. Their solution will work over any of the networks available to us and on multiple mobile devices,” stated Nolan.

Equitable provides natural gas distribution services to over 270,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers located mainly in the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding municipalities in southwestern Pennsylvania, plus a few municipalities in northern West Virginia and field line sales in eastern Kentucky. Equitable has scheduled system roll-out for the second quarter of 2002.

About Equitable Resources Inc.

Equitable Resources is an integrated energy company, with emphasis on Appalachian area natural-gas supply, natural-gas transmission and distribution, and -edge energy-management services for customers throughout the United States. Equitable Resources, its divisions and its subsidiaries, offer natural gas products and energy services to wholesale and retail customers through three business segments: Equitable Utilities, Equitable Production and NORESCO. The company also has energy-service management projects in selected international markets.

About MDSI

MDSI Mobile Data Solutions Inc. is a provider of mobile workforce management solutions. MDSI’s suite of applications improve customer service and relationships, and reduce operating costs by empowering service companies to optimally manage their field resources.

The company also provides all of the professional services, wireless connectivity, and hosting capabilities necessary to implement its solutions. For more information, please visit MDSI’s Web site at www.mdsi-advantex.com.

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