The Expanding Reach of Remote Support

I’m preparing for a webcast on February 7th, “Raising the Bar for Remote IT Support: Reach More Users, More Often,” to discuss the expanding reach of remote support. The sponsor for the webcast is LogMeIn, and we are talking about how remote support technology has moved way beyond desktop computers. This also points out a key selection criteria when shopping for remote support software:  be sure that the solution you choose offers as much flexibility for supported platforms and devices as possible.

Standard remote control for desktops running Windows has been around for more than a decade, and while MS Windows continues to own the lion’s share of the market there are other platforms to consider. 

  • Apple Macintosh.  While only at 6-8% of the PC market, there are concentrations of Mac users:  college students, marketing, desktop publishing are good examples.  In fact, Princeton University says that 41% of students and faculty had Macs in 2007, up from 31% in 2006.
  • Linux.  IDC expects Linux revenues to exceed $35.7B this year, with market share currently at 12.7%; higher for some industries.  Internet traffic for December 07 was from Firefox 16% of the time.
  • Wireless applications.  In-Stat reports that 75% of all US business use at least one wireless data application, with email, SFA and field service all popular wireless apps.

Having a remote control solution that only support Windows PCs means you are unable to extend this powerful tool to an expanding band of users.  The good news is that remote support vendors are expanding the operating systems they support.  While a couple of providers support Mac and/or Linux, LogMeIn Rescue is one of the few (Bomgar is another) who supports mobile devices.

LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile provides a virtual replica of a smartphone on a support technician’s screen, who can then manipulate the screen, use its keypad, and control it as if it were in the agent’s own hands — all over the web.  Wouldn’t that be handy to have as you roll out Salesforce on Treos to your entire sales division?

The scope of remote support has come a long way, and we are close to being able to access and fix any Internet-enabled appliance or device.  I used to talk about the web refrigerator in presentations–how if your fridge was web enabled the manufacturer could monitor it, dispatch repair when it breaks, troubleshoot problems looking at usage records, etc.  There are a few example already out there, such as OnStar being able to diagnose engine problems, or my favorite, the i-Pot, which tracks how many times a day you boil water (popular in Japan to keep tabs on elderly parents who live alone).  But the LogMeIn product is the first I’ve seen to support enterprise applications on mobile devices, and I hope it sells like crazy so they continue expanding the mobile devices supported.

As I always say, convenience overrides paranoia.  As long as the value proposition is there, customers get over any fears about strangers accessing their systems remotely.  No one thinks twice any more about your help desk or a customer service agent checking settings remotely on your PC.  Why not let them do the same for my iPhone, Blackberry, Treo or whatever?  Remote support, with its proven ability to dramatically increase first contact resolution rates, is desperately needed for more devices and platforms.

What device in your home would you most like remote support for?  Do you have any security fears about remote support for home technology?  Please add a note or shoot me an email.  And, as always, thanks for reading!

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