Case Study : Taking the ‘Call’ Out of Service Call
The Premier Group Creates a More Efficient Service Protocol Using Panamax/Furman’s BlueBOLT®June 2011 By CR Staff
Most service issues in A/V systems are directly related to networks or service providers. Recently networks have become increasingly complicated as end users continue to add new products into their systems, resulting in an overwhelming growth in service calls.
The good news is that most of these issues are easily resolved by simply resetting locked-up routers or cable boxes, or performing hard reboots on equipment. The bad news is that to do this, installers need to either talk their customers through the reset over the phone, or roll out the truck to do it themselves. In either case, the result is increased operational expenses and decreased customer satisfaction. One company, The Premier Group in Carmel, Ind., found a way to do something about it.
The Premier Group is a nationally ranked, top-tier professional custom electronics design and installation firm. Recently, Jason Barth, the company’s lead designer and CEO, began tracking how many of the company’s service calls could be resolved simply by helping a client reset something. The result was a jaw-dropping 70 percent. So when Panamax/Furman announced beta testing for its new BlueBOLT® power and energy management platform last year, Barth was one of the first installation firms to sign up for testing.
BlueBOLT technology provides hosted IP (Internet Protocol) power control and energy monitoring for A/V systems. Users can control BlueBOLT-equipped units through Panamax/Furman’s hosted BlueBOLT servers for plug-and-play setup (secured with SSL Extended Verification), or, if preferred, via direct connection over Telnet or HTTP using the BlueBOLT-CV1 interface card’s embedded web server. BlueBOLT offers ease of use through a modern graphical user interface that allows installers to monitor multiple installations across multiple locations, while offering a user-friendly dashboard.
BlueBOLT’s features include remote outlet control for hard reboots of connected equipment; email alerts when power anomalies occur; scheduled commands for power-up, power-down, or power-cycling of outlets; monitoring of incoming voltage in near-real time or over history; and permissions settings to provide secure device access at administrator, installer or client levels.
For integrators, the ability to power-cycle individual outlets or outlet banks from any web browser or web-enabled mobile device drastically reduces service calls and truck rolls. This not only lowers the cost of labor and fuel, but it saves time that can be spent on other jobs. In addition, email alerts issued when systems have lost power, or if power fluctuates outside of its safe range, allow installers to address these issues immediately.
Premier began beta testing with the F1500-UPS in February.
“BlueBOLT solves many problems, such as resetting routers and cable boxes, and performing hard reboots on equipment. We can do this for them remotely without inconveniencing them with a service call, which they really appreciate,” said Barth. “And, of course, reducing operational expenses and time spent on truck rolls is huge.”
Relying on BlueBOLT, the company began an entirely new service protocol designed to limit both truck rolls and service phone calls by using a support tab on its website. Now, instead of calling, a client just fills out an online form, which includes the login information for their BlueBOLT account. The form is emailed to the Premier’s service manager, while another confirmation email is auto-generated and sent to the customer. Shortly afterward, the client will be contacted, asking them to try their equipment again. If it’s a problem that can be solved with a hard reboot, the equipment will work.
In the end, the new protocol not only reduces service calls, but it allows service issues in general to be handled more efficiently, and provides a greater level of convenience for the customer. The company is also performing proactive maintenance on its customers’ systems, such as checking the Internet connection on devices or powering them off and on daily, to make sure everything is running smoothly before a problem arises. CR