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Electrolux to Provide Customer Hotline to Antarctic Market
Apr 1, 2003
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Swedish appliance maker Electrolux is in the process of launching an Antarctic customer "hotline" for home appliances. The system, based on computer diagnostics technology, is designed to help ensure optimal performance of the 28 Electrolux appliances being delivered to two Franco-Italian research bases Terra Nova Bay and Concordia in Antarctica. With the inland research base Concordia (under construction) being effectively cut off from civilization during the harsh winter months, the technology will allow the station's engineer to seek customer support directly from the company. Through a serial port, the appliances can provide a full analysis and report to the specially designed program on a laptop computer. This can be bundled into e-mail and supplied directly to Electrolux engineers in Italy, who will provide online support and advice in return. The system, designed and delivered by Electrolux, is part of the company's agreement with the Italian research organization Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie l'Energia e l'Ambiente (ENEA) to provide household appliances for the base's research teams at Concordia and the coastal facility Terra Nova Bay. Electrolux is supplying these and the hotline system free of charge, helping to ensure the products continue to function at optimal levels year-round. With the opening of the customer support system at Concordia in late 2003, the company says it is effectively providing for, and fully supporting, several basic survival needs as well as increasing the home comfort of those working at the site. "Ensuring we were able to provide customer support for the appliances was a critical requirement of this project from the start," states Massimo Cappello from Electrolux Service in Italy. "Sending a maintenance crew several thousand kilometers into the icy Antarctic is tough, even under normal conditions. With the base being physically cut off from the rest of the world during the winter months, we were required to find a smart solution to ensure the appliances were well supported at all times to help drive their optimal performance." The research center is largely funded by the French and Italian polar institutes, Institut Polaire Emile Victor (IPEV) and Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie l'Energia e l'Ambiente (ENEA) and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2004. It will be fully operational and ready to house 16 people during the winter of 2005. In summer months, up to 30 researchers will inhabit the station. Scientists from around the world will conduct advanced research at Concordia in a wide range of areas; including astronomy, glaciology and the ozone layer. The 28 appliances have reached Terra Nova Bay. Of these, 12 will be supplied to Concordia when the Antarctic winter settles in late October 2003. Electrolux will additionally deliver professional appliances in the near future to equip the base's kitchen. Wolfgang König, CEO of Electrolux Home Products Europe, said: "We are delighted that our products will be helping to make life a little more comfortable and help ensure a safer environment. In this unforgiving place, basic distractions and inconveniences can easily become life-threatening dangers. With that, Electrolux continues to provide innovative, trusted solutions for an easier, more enjoyable life on all of earth's continents."

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