Remote support is nothing new—most computer
manufacturers have been offering some form of remote support for years now.
However, vendor-provided support is typically limited to supporting the system
"as delivered." While this is great for warranty purposes, most users need
more than as-delivered support. After all, PCs don’t start to have any real
problems until applications are installed, hardware is changed or Web access begins.
PlumChoice Online PC Services is looking to build
a bridge that reaches beyond warranty support to offer complete support for any
technical issues that a PC user may encounter. PlumChoice offers a remote
computer support service that uses a "virtual hands-on approach,"
allowing PlumChoice’s professional technicians to remotely access and repair
malfunctioning PCs, install new applications or perform most any other task a
user might need.
The service works by setting up a remote control
session with a PlumChoice technician, who then takes over the subject system
and performs the needed diagnostics and repairs or requested chores. Of course,
the PC has to have some functionality to make all of that work; more
specifically, the ability to boot and launch a browser session is critical. To
control the user’s PC remotely, PlumChoice technicians use Citrix Systems’
GoToAssist, which is automatically installed when a user visits the appropriate
page on the PlumChoice Web site. Technicians remain in contact with the customer
via phone during the whole process and explain what they are doing and how they
are resolving problems on the PC.
PlumChoice offers to do the following:
- locate and remove viruses and
install and configure anti-virus software;
stop pop-ups, remove adware and spyware and install and configure
anti-spyware software; install home and small office networks (including
wireless networks), ensuring security
- fix e-mail and software
- fix printer, scanner, digital
camera and other peripheral problems
- help with MP3 players, PDAs
and other mobile devices
- speed up computers and
increase performance; provide PC tune-ups
- perform standard maintenance,
Windows updates and patches
- install, configure and train users
on new software and hardware
- assist in data backup
processes and transferring data from one PC to another
- set up secure wireless
- provide training, or take the
user shopping online
- fix error messages or frozen
screens and more
PlumChoice has demonstrated significant success in
the end-user support market and is now looking to bring its services to
resellers, MSPs (managed service providers) and other service organizations.
Currently, the company is offering a fledgling channel program to recruit
partners that want to resell the service. Ideally, an MSP can sign up with
PlumChoice and then offer access to the service for its customers. At this
time, PlumChoice brands all services under its own name, but the company may
offer "self-branding" capabilities in the future that would make it
more appealing to MSPs.