What is OvrC?
We sat down with Brian Moseley, our Technology and Product Development Manager, to explore the value of OvrC Remote Systems Management for our customers. Read on to find out more about this service and how you can save time and money.
Q: What is OvrC Remote System Management?
A: OvrC Remote System Management revolves around an internet-connected “Smart Hub” device that we install and program in your house. This Hub gives us the ability to gain valuable insight and, in many cases, solve issues with a customer’s system without ever having to run a service call. In fact, some of those service items we can put back in the customer’s control with their own iPhone or Android app.
Q: What systems can be remotely managed?
A: Virtually anything that is connected to the network in your house can be managed (or a network connected surge protector – more on that later). For instance, if a customer would like to change a setting on a “Wireless Access Point” that we installed, there was a time when we had to send out a technician with a laptop and locally access the network to make that adjustment. With Remote System Management, we can make that change from right here at the office. We can also see other important data that is otherwise not visible (even locally): usage statistics, speed test results, even down to what devices are connected to the network and what their WiFi signal strength is. This information is extremely valuable to us when troubleshooting network problems. Oh, and don’t worry – this does NOT give us access to any browsing history, personal information, or your personal devices like computers or laptops. Your privacy and security are a top priority for both us and the manufacturer. With Sony’s new line of Surround Sound Receivers, we can make programming changes remotely as well since they connect to the network and have a web-based user interface. These are just a few examples.
Q: What was that about surge protectors you mentioned? How can they be managed?
A: This is where we get into what’s really valuable to the customer: Time and Money. Many times in today’s technology-oriented homes, something as simple as a cable box needing to reboot can turn into an ordeal (let’s face it: that probably happens to most people at least a couple times a year). I don’t have the exact numbers on this, but I would guess we run a few dozen service calls every year to customer’s homes to simply re-boot a locked up Comcast or Verizon box because either the client is uncomfortable knowing what to unplug, or there are multiple boxes located together. You could power down the whole system, sure…but what if everything doesn’t boot back up in the right order? So we take that complication out of the way and make it easy. With our line of “Wattbox” IP Controlled surge protectors we can re-boot your cable box/router/modem/etc. with the push of a button – from our office – and you’re back in business. It’s very simple.
Q: So what about the app? Can I do this myself now?
A: YES! For the customer who wants that total control, there is an app available that we can program for your smartphone. With the right technology in your home’s ecosystem, you can open the app and reboot your own cable box/router/etc. without even having to call us. That way if it’s Saturday night and your cable box decides not to work for the big game, you have peace of mind even though we aren’t open for service.
Coming in the near future, customers with “Araknis” access points will have the ability with that same app to control two big things in their WiFi systems: The ability to control what content is delivered (to each device) and when that device can connect to WiFi.
Here’s a scenario: You don’t want your teenagers to have access to certain “questionable” online material…all you have to do is change a setting within the app. Or you don’t want your kids to be able to access the internet past 9PM. You can block access to their specific device from within the app on a schedule you set, without interfering with the web access of other devices on the network.
Q: Okay, the app sounds cool but what about people who don’t want to open the app for a simple reboot? Can’t we just give them a button that will cycle an outlet on the surge protector?
A: Absoultely! With the new Wattbox IP Surge Protectors, that’s easy and very inexpensive to add. A small doorbell sized button can trigger any outlet(s) to cycle off/on that we program.
Q: What makes OvrC a better platform for remote management than other platforms?
A: I put a couple platforms through their paces on our test bench and found that the interface didn’t have everything I was looking for. Also, OvrC integrates natively with the Wattbox IP Surge Protectors and Araknis access points we already install. Finally, there is NO monthly or annual connection fee from OvrC…that’s valuable savings that we can pass along to our customers!
Q: Okay, this sounds really intriguing, but how much of an investment do I need to make to put this in my home or business?
A: *It varies based on each customer’s unique situation, but I’ll break down the math for you: The average service call runs $115 – $300 (priced per hour). The OvrC Management Hub costs $150. An optional and recommended IP-enabled surge protector starts at around $265. It takes us, on average, 5 or 10 minutes (at $10-$20) to troubleshoot and fix a remotely managed issue over the phone. That’s a total of $435. (Consider these figures to be estimated, of course). As you can see, if this technology saves you a few service calls over the life of your system…it has already paid for itself!
Q: What if I have remote management, call in with a service issue and you can’t solve it over the phone?
A: There are still many scenarios where we may have to dispatch a technician. With technology, it’s inevitable. We aren’t to the point with the technology where we can fix everything…but we can at least get valuable information before we send a technician so they have a heads up. This equals less time on each call. I will promise you this: If you have remote management, and at the problem can’t be fixed online and we need to run a service call, you won’t see a bill for the time we spent here at our desk. You won’t get a bill for that – just the technician’s time at your house. I like to treat people they way I want to be treated…fairly.
Q: How do I found out more information?
A: Call us at (804)379-1348. We can provide information over the phone or dispatch one of our team members for a FREE in-home consultation.
*(Prices as publication date, 9/21/2017).