Smartphone SOS

One of the main fears dealers have about selling wireless to businesses and one of the main headaches when they do is subscriber device tech support? This is especially true as more and more businesses enable mobile workers with smartphones.

As mobile phones and other devices become increasingly complex, carriers and support technicians face a troubling pain point: supporting, troubleshooting and even training phone users, says Stacy Sudan, research analyst, mobile enterprise software, IDC.

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LogMeIns Rescue Mobile enables techs to replicate a users smartphone on a PC screen for remote diagnostics and training. The screen above shows a chat window.

To address this problem, LogMeIn Inc. is rolling out a new software-as-a-service offering in beta this month that enables customer care representatives at wireless dealers, wireless carriers, IT support organizations and corporate IT departments to remotely access smartphones to diagnose and fix problems or even train end users.

By using a product such as LogMeIn Rescue Mobile, there is an opportunity for the carriers and internal IT shops to reduce costs and for outsourced IT providers to offer more value to customers, say Sudan.

Richard B. Redding, vice president and general manager for mobile products at LogMeIn, says outsourcers like wireless dealers using Rescue Mobile will be able to either charge a premium for smartphone support or will be able to differentiate their offer.

LogMeIn Rescue Mobile is a Web-based service that enables technicians to remotely access and take control of a smartphone and optionally the connected PC simultaneously. Rescue Mobile replicates the smartphone on a computer screen, so technicians can push buttons, manipulate the screen and control the device as if it were in their own hands (see screenshot at right). The support technician directs the device owner to a Web page, where a small applet is downloaded to the mobile device. The end user is provided a connection code that can be given before connecting to the Internet or while speaking on a land line. The technician then connects to the mobile device to gain complete control. At this point, the technician can make fixes, update software, conduct training sessions or configure settings even view the display and use the keypad as if the phone were in his hand.

LogMeIn Rescue Mobile is scalable and configurable for thousands of technicians and can queue millions of sessions. Technicians simultaneously can support smartphones and computers from a single console.

For carriers and support organizations, this will significantly reduce the time and cost associated with supporting increasingly complex devices. For users, it reduces the frustration associated with the configuration and support of a handset that they may otherwise give up on and return, says LogMeIn CEO Michael Simon.

LogMeIn Rescue Mobile was made available for preview in July. The company says more than 1,000 people signed up to test a version with support for smartphones running the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system on the Palm Treo 700w/wx. Subsequent versions of LogMeIn Rescue Mobile will support the Symbian and BlackBerry operating systems.

The mobile support solution is available as an addon to LogMeIn, the companys flagship remote help offer for PCs. Licenses for LogMeIn cost $1,200 per technician. When it finally is offered commercially later this year, Rescue Mobile will add a 50 percent to 100 percent premium to each license, depending on the version purchased.

LogMeIn Inc.

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