Support Portals Can Help Keep Solutions Running Strong Long After Installation
Support portals allow for integrators to remotely aid end user's.
By Greg Sparrow, RCDD, NTS, ESS, PMP, CTS, Director of Project Management at SIGNET Electronic Systems Inc.

After deploying any system, there is a period of learning during which the user is getting to know the system. Once the user has made their way full circle around that initial learning curve, any number of issues, ranging from client misunderstanding to system functionality, may still pop up from time to time. Such concerns call for efficient, streamlined solutions, saving time and resources for both integrator and client. A secure support portal leverages network connectivity, allowing clients access to remote support, has proven to be one such solution.

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SIGNET Electronic Systems has been remotely supporting clients using standard, commercially-available remote connectivity tools for several years. In March of 2014, SIGNET deployed the signature, unified Client Support Portal.

Check out its corporate brochure here.

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System issues can vary widely depending on the type of system. Let’s take a look at one of the more common issues. When attempting to view video that has been recorded by their IP video surveillance system, the user may be unable to retrieve video in order to view it. Instead of having to go through the time-consuming and costly process of dispatching a technician to the client’s site in order to experience the issue firsthand, a support portal allows the integrator’s technical support representative to visually see what the client is experiencing via a remote screen-sharing functionality, while communicating with the client over the telephone. This often makes a quick, cost-efficient diagnosis possible. The support personnel can walk the user through each step on the path toward a solution.

Using the example above, the user’s inability to view recorded video could be the result of any number of causes. Perhaps the user is not utilizing the system correctly. In such an instance, a support portal would allow the integrator’s support personnel to perform remote training in the proper use of the system or regarding the specific function.  This is a valuable service that can provide detailed training and documentation on new and often complex technologies that may fall outside of their core competencies.

However, it is possible that support personnel, while viewing the user’s system remotely and discussing via teleconference, may determine that the issue is related to a device malfunction rather than to the user’s misunderstanding. For example, the user may be unable to view recorded video due to a camera being offline or damaged. In such a case, a technical support representative would be able to quickly diagnose the issue (the camera has failed), obtain any further required information (device type and model number), and determine the recommended remedy (order the replacement device and dispatch a technician to the client’s site once the replacement equipment is available.)

In situations where further troubleshooting is required, unattended future remote access can be set up as well. With the user’s permission, support personnel can then continue troubleshooting the system remotely without burdening the client.

Leveraging remote connectivity options in lieu of sending a technician to the client’s site from the outset is valuable to both user and integrator. It circumvents the lengthy, multi-step process that causes extended loss of functionality and cost, as well as reduces the time burden and transportation costs for the integrator.

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