It was March 2, 2012. It had been a long and stressful day - one of those days where it seemed impossible to keep up with the constant flow of support tickets coming in. We had just struggled through a firmware (FW) update that had to be done for all of our customers, followed by another update to fix a security patch that was affecting numerous customer wireless access points.
Unfortunately, that morning's first FW update also wiped out any port-forwarding in the customer routers in the field and locked us out from fixing the new problems on storage units for (IP) cameras. It was beyond frustrating discovering this after believing we had finally fixed everything that morning. All that work just to find another issue that's even more time-consuming and costly. Now we would have to travel on-site, all the way to every customer-location to reconfigure things. The bad morning turned into a bad day because, wouldn't you know, it was rush hour and our customers were scattered all over the city. It was becoming a domino effect. But these were some of our best customers and we didn't want to disappoint them....
Sound familiar? Things like this have unfortunately become part of the daily grind for Technology Partners (resellers, VARs, MSPs, etc.) everywhere. Sometimes you're stuck having to make over an hour commute just to fix a minor setting, press a button, or adjust a camera activity sensor window. Or worse, in attempts to save time and money by avoiding making an on-site visit, you try to talk a customer through fixing it themselves, crossing your fingers they don't disconnect or press something to make the matter even worse.
As IP technology becomes more common, it also becomes more critical in today's business practices.
With more devices, comes more inter-dependencies between systems. And as more systems are added, resolution and management becomes increasingly complex. Having full visiblity and access to a customer's network infrastructure is more critical than ever.
Businesses that don't have the level of in-house support to resolve issues internally need professional technology partners to help them insure their uptime and efficient operations. However, these technology partners have their own obstacles within the industry. As competition rises, prices and resources plummet. Technology partners also often see their income shrink as they compete with online competitors. End users benchmark and expect pricing levels based on consumer-grade products and expect service and support coss to be in proportion with the falling hardware prices. To make things even more difficult, there is an ever-increasing need for more security.
This is the scenario in which IPTechView was born.
We thought, "How could we make it easier for our reseller's customers to have full visibility of all IP technology products we sold and they installed?" Hence, the name IPTechView. We also wanted to find a way to provide secure remote management and configuration. Partners should be able to fully manage their projects remotely, cutting down on support time and cost.
Our Partners needed a reliable tool to monitor and manage all installed IP technology products and solutions while ensuring that all individual elements or devices installed continue working as expected. In IP technology, we also need to be positive that the overall quality of service (QoS) of the project is sufficient. With that in mind, we wanted to have a connectivity tool in case something was not working as expected. This enabled secure remote management, so a Partner could immediately service the customer without having to go on site, saving time and money.
Finally, we asked ourselves, How could we help our customers not only save money, but also generate more service income? How could we empower our Partners to monetize their own support to customers and what would be a level of support that would be best for their end users?
We came to the conclusion that frequently there are indicators leading to technical issues. With this belief, many issues could be detected and resolved before they developed into outages - if the partners had knowledge about the circumstances. We decided that if we could come up with a solution to alert and predict certain problems, we could help reduce outages to a minimum level and help our resellers have very happy customers that would frequently refer them to other people for the very high service level they provided.
Our final goal was to help our resellers educate their own customers on the services they provide and on the high uptime they would have. In order to do this, we created a special customized outage and uptime report feature for our solutions and work-logs. This feature helps technology Partners educate their end users on all the work they provide and help them bill for managed services.
Last but not least, we knew the best way to provide this platform to customers was as a hosted-software solution. That way, we could operate centrally and support Partners without them having to invest in the platform. But wow, what a task. This also seemed complicated and not realistic. We had thousands of resellers that sell hundreds of devices. How could we ever scale?
Then it dawned on us that we already had a foundation. Over the last several years we had already built out a platform to help ITSPs do NAT Traversal. There, we had gained experience in building out a robust and clustered - even international - platform that had grown to manage over 500,000 endpoints. If we could build on what we had learned and helped build out for the Service Provider space, maybe IPTechView would no longer just be a pipe dream.
Fast forward four years, and we had a prototype! One more year and we went BETA with some our of our surveillance customers with our IP Video version of IPTechView, MX-MSP. Now, we are really ready to start deploying IPTechView as a solution for technology Partners everywhere so they can reduce their costs, offer better and increased services, and bring their recurring revenue to a whole new level.
Today, our partners truly can sit at a cafe and remotely survey all of their customers’ system health issues. They can intervene remotely and securely, while lowering their cost, offering incredible response-speed to any problem arising. They can also bill clients for work done on-the-fly.