01 Communique Launches Remote Tool for VARs

By Pedro Pereira  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

The remote-access tool I'm OnCall allows tech support workers to take over a user's PC through encrypted Web connections.

As solution providers deliver more of their customer services remotely over the Web, the options for how to deliver the services are multiplying.

Mississauga, Ontario-based 01 Communique this week plans to release a remote-control tool that allows technical support personnel to take over a user's PC through encrypted Web connections.

The tool, I'm OnCall, is targeted at channel companies, independent software resellers and help desk organizations, said Brian Howden, vice president of marketing at 01 Communique.

I'm OnCall competes with products such as Citrix GoToAssist, which lets support professionals remotely take over a user's desktop for troubleshooting purposes. These remote tools in some cases replace site visits, but for the most part they are used in addition to telephone support calls, which without the tools tend to be longer and less efficient.

Howden says I'm OnCall is more affordable at $99.95 a month per seat, or $999.95 for an annual license. If they charge $40 to $60 per support call, solution providers using the tool can recover their monthly subscription cost in two or three calls.

Attempts to get pricing from Citrix were unsuccessful. A spokesperson would say only that "licensing is based on a named user basis and volume discounts apply."

Click here to read about how Citrix is recruiting VARs and integrators to use and sell its remote access products.

Howden said another feature separating 01 Communique's tool from others is the ability for users to keep track of the number of support sessions for which they use I'm OnCall.

"A lot of resellers do remote support today, but we're finding they don't have a record of how many support sessions they do a month," Howden said.

The company already has placed the tool in the hands of some customers, including AbelSoft, a developer of dental and medical solutions in Burlington, Ontario.

AbelSoft has used the tool for about two months with customers across North America, said IT manager Jim Lawther. The company wasn't looking for a remote-access support application but decided to give I'm OnCall a try anyway when 01 Communique came knocking.

"We didn't even realize we needed this product until we started trying it," Lawther said. "At the end of the trial, no one wanted to go back to the old ways.'

I'm OnCall hits the market as the software-as-a-service and managed-services models gain momentum. Both models generate recurring revenue for solution providers that traditionally have run their businesses on a deal-to-deal basis.

In the software-as-a-service model, providers host applications and charge monthly fees for the service. The model is complementary to managed services, through which solution providers remotely monitor and manage the computing environments of their customers. In some cases, managed-services providers may also host applications for their clients.

Howden said he believes the number of solution providers offering managed services and software as a service will continue to grow. And that means more channel companies will be looking to add applications such as I'm OnCall.

01 Communique currently has about 100 channel partners and expects that number to increase to between 250 and 300 by the end of this year.

The company started recruiting channel partners for its other products, the I'm InTouch remote-access tools. With I'm InTouch, users can send e-mail and attach files with smart phones and other handheld devices, which communicate with the users' PCs through wireless connections.

"It's actually your PC that's sending [the e-mail] so it's right there in your 'Sent Items' folder when you return to the office," Howden said. "The wireless device is acting as a TV remote control."

01 Communique launched the desktop edition of I'm InTouch, which the vendor hosts from its own data center, in 2001. Last year the company released the corporate server edition of the product and embarked on a partner recruiting efforts. Partners have the option of using 01 Communique's hosting capabilities or hosting the product themselves for their own customers.


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