Adding Voice and Permission-Based Remote Support to ThingWorx
As most of you know, I founded Axeda over 15 years ago and hold quite a few patents on the topic of IoT and Remote Service. Over that time, I have seen many IoT based remote support programs. In large part, remote support for complex machines and devices has stayed pretty consistent and work something like this:
- A machine operator leaves the machine, goes to a quiet location, and calls for support
- The machine operator then navigates the call center until they get the right person to help them
- That person opens a remote session and starts troubleshooting
- All the while, the machine operator is still far away from the machine, tethered to the phone…
Can you spot the problems with this scenario? Not only does the operator have to leave the machine to ask for help, but also, remote access can happen without their permission and without their physical proximity to the machine. In today’s hyper threat world – definitely not an optimal security model. Furthermore, what happens if the operator provides a phone number? Is it their cell phone or the number in a conference room? What happens when the operator goes home? For many types of machines this poses a real quandary.
This was the problem that INSTRON faced when they decided to update their existing, Axeda-based, remote support program to ThingWorx. On one hand, Instron wanted the same remote troubleshooting capability that they enjoyed with their Axeda system, yet, at the same time, they wanted to create a process that dramatically improved the user experience, all while improving site security.
RevTwo provided both.
The new and improved Instron Connect uses ThingWorx to capture machine data and perform cloud-based rules and analytics, while using RevTwo to provide secure remote access and VoIP based machine communication.
The combination delivers a much-improved customer workflow, experience, and security. The Instron support scenario now looks like this.
- Customer requests help right from the machine
- The help request gets routed to a support tech who can help them.
- The support tech places a “Machine-based” support call using RevTwo’s built-in VoIP technology. No operator cell phone numbers are necessary.
- The operator must accept the support request call and grant permission for a remote troubleshooting session to occur.
- The operator and support person are now able to talk with each other while the support agent troubleshoots the machine, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
The new workflow is much improved for both Instron and their customers. The support agent is now able to talk to the operator during troubleshooting sessions using the built-in RevTwo-powered VoIP communication. The operator controls when and if remote sessions occur, improving site security, while the support agent gains a valuable set of eyes and ears improving troubleshooting and safety.
RevTwo will attend PTC’s LiveWorx event this week (May 23-25).. We will be glad to discuss how RevTwo can be easily added to your remote support program.