The technology bringing Australians closer together

Telestration may not be new technology, but how it’s being applied is set to revolutionise IT field services.

As IT services providers know, it’s a real challenge to find sufficient skilled field engineers to cater for the unpredictability of requests for onsite support, both the number of requests and the type of help sought. The vast distances separating towns and cities, the dense urban mix and the sprawling stretches of regional properties make maintaining a national IT field service in Australia a costly business.

The beauty of telestration is that its brings together any customer, in any location, with sophisticated technical support from a subject matter expert (SME) who can be thousands of kilometres away. As long as there is an internet or Wi-FI connection, including low bandwidth, even far-flung locations can overcome the ‘tyranny of distance’ that afflicts Australia.

The power of telestration products lies in their capabilities. By streaming live video from a customer’s location back to an SME, the SME sees exactly what the customer or onsite engineer sees. Streaming mostly happens from a customer’s or onsite engineer’s smartphone, laptop or tablet, or when a field engineer is needed onsite, they can carry special cameras or wear smart glasses that link to telestration software. Users at both ends can easily draw freehand over the screen to highlight areas, or zoom in for a closer view.

The benefits are almost boundless. Being able to see the problem makes for much more accurate communication between an SME and a customer, who may not have a technical background. The SME can quickly diagnose the problem and direct its resolution without leaving the office or despatching a field engineer.

There’s also the customer’s satisfaction. A field service relies entirely on the technical and interpersonal skills of its engineers; there’s nothing more frustrating than having a field engineer turn up who is not equipped to do the job. With telestration, not only does the customer gain a faster, less costly solution, the IT services provider saves time and costs, including travel.

Even on those occasions when a field engineer is required at the customer’s site, telestration means a lower cost engineer can be sent to complete complicated tasks under an SME’s remote guidance. This avoids the need for the SME to visit the site or for the field engineer to return for another visit.

The application of telestration to field services could make a marked different to the revenues of IT services providers. BEST Technology’s true cost of utilisation calculations demonstrate that an $85K network or server engineer at a utilisation rate of 80% costs at least $113 per hour, excluding service management costs. At 70% utilisation, the cost per hour is $130.

Telestration goes a long way to keeping site visits and customers’ downtime to a minimum. This adds up to what only a few years ago would have been considered an unlikely outcome: saving costs and improving customer satisfaction, both at the same time

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