Esprida pioneered the M2M revolution. Once again, one of its long-time clients is using Esprida LiveControl to expand its offering. The State of Michigan announced it is adding its DMV self-service terminals to Meijer stores across Michigan for vehicle license registration and renewal services. Leveraging the device management capabilities brought by Esprida, the State is using retail outlets to reduce waiting times at branches for vehicle license plate services.
Traditionally these kiosks were available at only Secretary of State Offices. Under the new program kiosks at Meijers will provide everyday easy access and convenience to the public. The machines will accept major credit cards so the public can renew their license plate tabs while grocery shopping!. And the State can confidently deploy knowing Esprida LiveControl is managing the devices.
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We’ve all heard the term M2M by now, and often referred to interchangeably with the term “Internet of Things” which refers to connecting everything – people, objects, machines – to the Internet and is only the tipping point for what’s to come, as we are just starting to get a glimpse of the potential of today’s M2M applications.
So you may be asking yourself – is all this hype surrounding M2M really all its cracked up to be? Well let’s break down some of the reasons why your business should be considering M2M technologies:
1: Simplify and Enhance user Interaction
With M2M technology businesses can bridge the information gap between their clients and customers. Just imagine how quickly and easily it would be to interact with patients in a waiting room. Information about a company, promotions, or even news events could be filtered through a digital display or device. Patients could check in using their device and receive real-time updates on wait times, facilitating staff communication etc.
2: Improved Efficiencies and Transactions
M2M provides businesses with the opportunity to transfer all of their data via M2M. Wouldn’t it be great if data such as credit card, personal data, and company information could be exchanged and approved through a simple connection? This will inevitably become reality with M2M technologies, by making transactions more efficient than ever!
3: Increase Productivity
Efficiency and productivity is important in any organization. M2M enables employees to work faster and more efficiently. By reducing manual user intervention, managers can focus on more important aspects of their business. The increase in productivity also extends beyond an organization’s employees. Networks and devices that operate the business will also become more and more efficient as well.
4: Automation, Automation, and did I mention Automation?
Automation plays an integral role in improving efficiency in many industries. Many small businesses can utilize M2M technologies to enhance the level of automation that include embedded systems and software which have the ability to track, diagnose, and manage such things as inventory levels, device statuses, and even generate detail reports. Just image now much easier life would be for business if they never had to manually order inventory again.
5: Better data collection
M2M improves the task of data collection like no other system. With technologies such as NFC (Near Field Technology), Bluetooth, and other communication protocols, businesses will be able to easily collect client/customer information on site, on the go, or remotely. In the retail industry, with inventory or device tracking, businesses are able to automate the collection and analysis of sales, and delivering precise information pertaining to which products sell best and when they sell.
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Digital signage has had a profound impact on the retail industry as of late. It’s hard to avoid the media attention surrounding digital signage and how retailers are leveraging deployments to attract more customers and drive traffic through in-store sales.
The amount of interest garnered by the digital signage market has led toward massive growth. A study from leading market analyst, Marketsandmarkets.com has shown that the global digital signage market is expected to worth an estimated $13.6 billion by 2016.
These figures come as somewhat of a surprise considering digital signage technology has been around for awhile now in one form or another. So why has digital signage garnered so much interest in the retail market? A big part may have something to do with the declining technology costs.
Digital signage equipment has now been made more accessible. The costs of LCD and HD screens are more affordable than ever before, with prices ranging in the hundreds. Even the software which retailers use to create advertising content can be downloaded from supplies without any charges. On top of that many suppliers are even including media player software as part of the download package, allowing media content to be displayed to LCD screens for free!
The technology is definitely there. The challenge though for retailers is figuring out how to effectively utilize the digital signage technology to engage customers and evoke payments over the counter. Below are five opportunities for retails to capitalize on digital signage technology:
1. Employ a feature screen area: Setting up a single and/or multiple LCD screens that serve as a central feature video wall display. This will allow retailers to showcase their latest promotions, feature new products, and run third party advertising content.
2. Product display areas: Consumer buying decisions are typically triggered by an emotional feeling or experience that is often associated with the product being sold. Product displays often serve this purpose. However digital signage takes it up a notch by providing shoppers with a “theatrical experience”. Creating engaging content that evokes emotion to the product display is an avenue worth exploring.
3. Interactive displays: customer interaction is a key aspect of engagement. By using touch screen displays showcasing a selection of product lines and offering customers a chance to find out more about them, retailers have a great opportunity to engage and promote their products.
4. Big screen demos: Product demos are great resources for engaging customers. However, they are heavily dependent on in-store space, and rely heavily on the staff’s ability to get the right message across to the appropriate audience. Digital signage can serve as a tool to facilitate communication objectives by placing large mounted LCD displays to assist with the knowledge transfer.
5. Product Guides: Conveying a product’s functionality, advantages and/or benefits of using a product to a customer is a vital aspect of generating interest and ultimately making a sale. Digital signage technology can help alleviate the communication barriers. A visual component could go long way.
Digital signage is poised to make a significant impact in the retail market. It still remains to be seen whether or not it will play a pivotal role on a commercial level, which will be dependent on the nature of the deployment, and the type of media content used. Bottom line though, in order for digital signage to be adopted commercially, there needs to be an element of interest that must resonate through the shopping experience. Screen presentation will need to be creative, intuitive, and should work in unison with communication objectives. After all, the purpose of digital signage should be to drive sales right?
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In this day in age when customer retention is at the forefront of business success, everything a company does should revolve around its customers. Whether it is vision, goals, marketing strategy, or advertising – essentially everything you can imagine. Why is this important? Its simple, customers are the driving forces behind a business’ success or failure, and heavily dictate profit margins. Everything else is simply a means to appeasing these people. Discrediting the value of customers would be a vital mistake.
If there’s one thing the information age has taught us it’s that content and customers are king. Therefore it is important that businesses take their customers seriously. One could even argue that a large portion of a company’s marketing strategy should be dedicated to a little thing called customer care. Regardless of a company’s budget, it’s always wise to consider investing a serious amount of time and resources into customer care. Even if you are on a low budget, you might want to invest a serious amount of time to customer care. The notion of satisfying the consumer would have been farfetched back in the day, as many firms had a tendency of operating in their best interest; however those days are quickly evaporating.
Back then businesses underestimated the value of their customers, and took them for granted, which might have worked (due in large part to market demographics). But now the tide has shifted very vividly. Customers nowadays want to be involved with the companies they make purchases from, which trigger buying decisions typically made under those merits. Social media has opened the floodgates for customers and companies to engage and interact with one another. Take Facebook and Twitter for instance. Both of these services allow people to make passing comments about experiences they have had when dealing with firms, which in turn are read by hundreds and thousands of people. Anything negative could potentially look very bad for business, resulting in reduced profit margins. This is a prime example of how influential customers can really be. Now that we have established the value of customers, let’s turn our attention to customer care.
Most would associate customer care to answering phone calls, responding to emails and putting up an FAQ page. However, it goes beyond that. In addition, more companies are starting to implement remote management software. It may not sound like much; however, having PC remote access could actually
Remote access enables companies to resolve issues such as software malfunction, installation issues or even incompatibility issues for their customers. Basically, this means taking all the guess work out and allowing the technician to diagnose and resolve any problems remotely.
PC Remote access allows technicians to access your device, and work on solving an issue remotely from a centralized location. The end result? Faster resolution times, happier customers, which potentially translates into more business. How much would it mean to you if your business had thousand of satisfied buyers raving about your company and all of the positive experiences they have had with you? I thought so.
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Over the last few years, M2M (Machine-to Machine) technology has flown slightly under the radar. However that’s all about to change very soon as M2M is poised to breakout over the upcoming year. It’s become evident by the increasing number of businesses adopting M2M for connecting and tracking their endpoint devices.
In most cases, it’s often more cost-effective to remotely monitor the mobile workforce and its machines in contrast to dispatching a technician or service worker out to locate equipment or diagnose problems. With the current state of the economy, coupled with the increasing cost of fuel, service companies are faced with declining profit margins, which inevitably force them to evaluate whether it is feasible to send people out into the field.
Perhaps the greatest impact felt is through the service industries, where the problem has resonated with many in the industry, due in large part to the fact that they are aware of the implications that this kind of Intel could potentially have on the industry and how dramatic an effect can be to service delivery.
M2M Ushering in Smarter Service Management
Remote monitoring technology results in less down time for the customer, shorter service calls for the technician, and fewer trips, which saves fuel costs not to mention reduces the wear and tear on vehicles.
Whether you’re operating a small or large business, every company operates a supply chain. Deploying smarter service chain management provides businesses with the flexibility to deliver goods and services more efficiently to minimize and control operating costs while increasing customer service.
As M2M continues to gain popularity, it is abundantly clear that businesses are beginning to integrate M2M data from “smart devices” – a concept which revolves around the idea of supplying companies with information that they can use to schedule and prioritize service delivery to enhance operational efficiency, productivity, and profitability while maximizing customer service levels.
Companies such as Esprida Corporation have been able to address the unique technical challenges by providing affordable, remote management solutions that continually integrate the latest M2M technologies.
Regardless of the industry, efficiency and profitability of service delivery will always be reliant on effective organizational management models, people, and machines. Most of us would agree that customers value services that exceed their expectations and goes a long way in establishing customer loyalty.
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In today’s economic climate, service and support organizations are under constant pressure to improve their financial performance. They must increase margins without sacrificing customer satisfaction, meet the needs of a growing customer base without adding headcount, and support increasingly complicated products with cheaper, less skilled resources. Leveraging Remote endpoint device management presents several opportunities for organizations to operate more efficiently and cost effectively:
Diagnose problems remotely
Once a technician has received a service call, they can use a Remote endpoint device management system to directly access diagnostic parameters and log files as well as live and historic operational information about the troubled device. Even if the device is offline, the expert can capture data about what the device was doing at the time of failure or compare snapshots of the device state at selected times, and use this data to diagnose problems without user intervention. If the device is online, the expert can take over the device using remote desktop, run diagnostics, or restart applications.
Reduce on-site travel with remote repair
Utilizing remote endpoint device management allows experts to remotely repair, adjust, or administer devices without the hassle of on-site visits. If the problem is determined to be a user error, they can monitor how the operator is using the device and offer training or advice on how to use it more efficiently. When a problem is indentified that can be fixed remotely, adjustments to system parameters, manage files, download software fixes on demand, or proactively update software across a whole range of devices. Proactive fault notification, remote problem diagnosis, and remote repair features are just some of the value added benefits that translate into quantifiable returns on investment.
Utilize service resources more effectively
Young service staff place challenges on older experts within the service team to maintain and distribute expertise across the service base. Remote endpoint device management provides a new approach because monitoring, diagnosis, and repair can be done from anywhere in the world, companies can intelligently utilize service experts located world-wide, putting the best people on the right job, while reducing time and travel expenses. Experts can troubleshoot and resolve problems from their desktops, using a standard Web browser, and collaborate with each other and with on-site support personnel or device operators.
Reduce software distribution costs and installation errors
Manual software distribution costs often involve manual distribution of software (CD, DVD, or USB Keys) and manual follow up by the service team to track, manage incompatibilities, and provide support -Remote management provides a new alternative. A prime example is Esprida LiveControl which provides remote software management capabilities that enables individual devices or whole device populations to be updated without costly software duplication and shipping using a secure mechanism. Esprida’s LiveControl solution is able to maintain in-depth information on each device configuration, so specific software releases can be correctly mapped to a given device installation, avoiding customer errors. This reduces distribution costs and helps reduce costly call center calls from customers struggling with upgrade procedures or using obsolete software.
Improving Customer Satisfaction
Implementing remote management solutions can provide companies with a competitive advantage, allowing them to focus on and fulfill customer expectations and, as a result, retain and grow existing customers, acquire new customers, and build customer loyalty. Remote management addresses the key business requirements of device customers today—minimal downtime, minimal interruption from the service provider, and minimal involvement on their end. They want manufacturers and service providers to anticipate problems, anticipate their needs, and take care of them—quickly and proactively. Simply put, they want manufacturers and service providers to make them happy and keep them happy—and if these desires are not fulfilled, they will simply find another that will.
Minimize downtime and maximize device performance
Remote management allows users to continuously monitor their device parameters to detect problems before they cause downtime. For example if disk space on a connected device is nearing its full capacity or in the event that an application is freezing abnormally, indicating a replacement may be required. With automatic notifications, from a customer standpoint, the onus is placed on the technician to ensure that prompt recourse is taken to rectify any potential problems that may arise.
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Remember the good old days when you had to get off your couch, walk across the room, adjust the channel antenna then walk back to your couch? Neither do I. The simple nuisance of this task led to the invention of television remotes, and now today you and I can enjoy the luxury of watching T.V. from the comfort of our Lazy-Boy. Similarly, is the daunting chore of having to wake up in the middle of the night to restart a server from its centralized location. Television relied on its dependence on the remote solution as a means of server management. Remote management can be viewed in the same vain. Maintaining your server and its accompanying endpoint devices is no longer fruition, but rather we need to embrace the realization.
There, has been a massive influx in software over the past few years capable of monitoring everything, which includes running services on your desktop or server, disk space, and data analysis. Enter the age of remote management, where any software running on any connected device on a network connection can be monitored. All that is required is a client installed on a machine that reports back to a centralized server, device, or website that will provide notifications on the status of the machine and the necessary actions to take.
Esprida Corporation has been utilizing this technology and has been pioneer in remote management for the past decade. Our LiveControl platform enables users to monitoring each device from a remote location. The Esprida platform is able to diagnose user data for each deployed device, generate comprehensive reports, and take the appropriate actions needed to rectify the initial problem. By deploying Esprida’s solutions, customers are able to decrease service costs, in addition to eliminating operational and hosting costs.
Remote management technology has altered the landscape of business management. It is no longer the future, it has become reality!
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One of the most exciting trends of automation in the telecommunication arena is the integration of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. With billions of smartphones, tablet computers and other devices,which will be dependent on powerful wireless broadband expected to come online in the next few years, M2M solutions will be a sensible option for promoting efficiency and functionality to providers of services such as video surveillance, managed services, patient monitoring,and cloud computing.
At its most basic level, M2M technology allows devices to communicate with other devices or with networks to accomplish certain functions. A more advanced function resides in the application enablement approach. Under this concept, a network packages access to its features and capabilities into application programming interfaces (APIs). These APIs allow third-party developers to make good use of the network by fostering innovation and increasing its value. Application enablement makes M2M attractive to end-users because the third-party developers have an inherent interest in providing a positive customer experience. After all, many end consumers are driven to choosing an intelligent device -such as a smartphone -over another because of the quantity and quality of apps available.
The business model resulting from M2M applications brings about a situation in which customer experience principles must be applied. Service issues will arise, as they always do, and the end consumer will look to the network operator for solutions. This is why customer experience must be managed in environments where the operator is central to the operation of the network. Under this model, the operator has a high degree of control: it provides the data, the development environment and the retail platform – like an application marketplace. Regardless of whether the end-consumer is an enterprise or an individual, a certain level of customer relationship management is expected. Just because machines are communicating with each other does not imply that the network’s brand or reputation should be neglected.
While operating an application-driven M2M network may sound tempting due to the return-on-investment (ROI) opportunities available, network congestion is an unpredictable factor that is sure to dampen the spirits of operators. To ensure that critical issues such as congestion do not threaten customer satisfaction, service-level agreements (SLAs) must be in place. For an SLA to be considered adequate for a M2M business, it must guarantee proper network connectivity, coverage and quality of service. The SLA must ensure that the network is analyzed and optimized to prevent congestion, and it must be prepared to address the needs of customers. Remote network monitoring solutions are key to offering a solid SLA. Properly devised SLAs will become key differentiators for M2M businesses moving forward, and should be included in your future considerations.
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About M2M Review
The M2M Review offers articles and discussions on the remote management industry, including remote network management and self-service devices.
This blog is brought to you by Esprida Corporation, an industry leader in remote management software for self-service, providing a Software as a Service (SaaS) product line that automates and simplifies the management of self-service devices. Our solution provides comprehensive device management through real-time monitoring, automated content distribution, detailed reports and multi-tiered security.