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1992 - Press Release - Prime Minister’s Campaign Coach

Below is the text of the Conservative Party Press Release with details of the Prime Minister’s campaign coach. It was issued on Monday 16th March 1992, reference 405/92.


PRIME MINISTER'S CAMPAIGN COACH - USE OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY

Computer technology will be playing a major role throughout the General Election campaign by providing communications between the Prime Minister's campaign coach and Conservative Party Headquarters. This includes computer equipment, cellular telephones and fax machines.

British design and manufactured Apricot 486 Qi computers are being used to produce reports, documents, speeches and press releases. For the technically minded these computers have Intel i486 processors, running at 25MHz, 8Mb on-board memory, large hard disk storage and internal tape backup drives.

Computer access security is also featured and each system is provided with special infra-red security cards.

The computers are equipped with Communicate fax cards and specially modified scanning software, capable of converting incoming faxes from an image into a document for editing by word processing software.

This development of converting documents received by FAX on a computer, into a format which can be edited in word processing software, is a major technical achievement. This has been a joint development by two British companies namely - Communicate based in Ascot and AL Systems in London. The Apricot Qi Computers and Fax Cards are connected to British Telecom's Cellular system.

Two Apricot Notebook Computers are also being used.

Diskfax is in use on the coach and at locations around the country. This device, recently developed by ALFA Systems Limited, will duplicate the contents of a computer's floppy disk, through the telephone network from one machine to another.

The manufacturers claim transmission speeds of up to 40 pages of A4 in 80 seconds can be achieved. The Diskfaxes are also connected through British Telecom's Cellular telephone system.

British Telecom Mobile Communications have also been involved in the project by equipping the vehicle with the latest Cellular telephones.

The vehicle is a Duple 340 converted by Plaxton Duple Parts and Service of Anston, Sheffield.

Mains power is supplied in both 240 volts and 12 volts to drive the range of computer equipment, fax machines, Xerox copier and mobile telephones. Specialist work has been undertaken on the vehicle by Image Intelligence Ltd of Cheltenham.

The Prime Minister said he was delighted to see how so many companies had co-operated to bring together their technology skills for this project.