지면일자 : 2011.02.24 (현지시간)
Tablets and smartphones, or more specifically their operating systems, may seem straightforward to the tech-literate early adopters. However, at present smartphones still make a relatively small segment of total mobile phone sales. If that market is to expand to its full potential, and therefore include less tech-savvy users, such devices are going to need technical support on a par with PCs and laptops.
With this in mind, Korean company RSupport made its first appearance this year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The company has a 13 year history, primarily in remote support for desktop PCs. It has a strong track record in Asia, supplying services for desktop support to companies including Sony, Fujitsu and Toshiba. Research companies, including IDC and Frost & Sullivan, rate it as being no.1 in Asia for remote PC support software.
Its core RemoteCall support solution for PCs was expanded with its mobile pack as far back as 2008, with clients for the combined solution including Japan's DoCoMo mobile provider, as well as handset manufacturers including Samsung and LG.
It's not just devices that may need mobile support too. Consumers are purchasing large numbers of apps for their devices, and those apps are bound to get more complex and expensive as the devices themselves become more powerful. Such software may require dedicated support from the developer or publisher to keep customers happy. Also, tablets are being touted as possible business devices, possibly using bespoke software for specific needs, which will itself need technical support in the field.
At present RSupport's mobile support solution covers iPhone, iPad, Windows Mobile and Android handsets, with Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 support to follow shortly. It sells the support software on a per agent basis, and the basic software can be supplied as is, or reworked to a company's individual needs.
The support agent can work on both PC and mobile support from the same software, which adds flexibility and so improves efficiency. This way, the agent can even then work on problems that arise between the client's mobile device and their PC, such as the syncing of documents or contacts.
We were given a full demo of the product in action. The RSupport software can be preloaded onto a mobile device by the manufacturer, or can be downloaded from the usual app market for the device. The support agent can also send an SMS with a link to the app. Upon receiving the support call from the customer, the support agent gives them a six digit code, this is punched into the RSupport app to set up the remote connection.
The software immediately gives an indication if the customer has altered the phone, so stolen phones that have been reprogrammed or jailbreaked iPhones can be detected straight away and support denied if desired. The tool set for mobile devices is impressive, the agent can see all the processes running and how much system resources they are taking up. They can turn apps on and off and uninstall them. Thre's also full remote control of the device, and the agent can write upon the device's screen, so they can show the customer how to fix the problem for themselves. All of these features are typical of PC support software, but to see them running hassle-free on a mobile device is a novelty.
The agent can connect to the device using 3G, Wi-Fi or via a USB connection to a PC (very handy if it's the wireless connection that needs troubleshooting). There's only a three second delay when the software switches between different connection types.
In addition, there's a screen-lock mode to prevent the agent from seeing the customer type in private passwords for various services, and you can record support sessions for future reference.
The feature list is impressive then. RSupport also claims that its product is faster and smoother than its best-known competitor - LogMeIn. It says that it has a small footprint, using between just 2-30% of the CPU capacity on a mobile device with a typical 1GHz processor (there's also full support for dual-core chips).
RSupport claim this is due to its own in-house developed VRVD5.0 compression algorithim, which it uses rather than rely upon a third-party or open source product. This, it said allowed it to quickly make changes to be compatible with dual-core LG handsets, something that would not otherwise have been possible.
We haven't had time to do extensive speed and network testing, but it certainly worked smoothly in our demo, and any company looking to support its employees or clients on a mobile platform should definitely give both a thorough test run before purchasing.
We interviewed Hans Seo, the CEO of RSupport, and talked about the European mobile market, language support, and prices. He told us that the Asian market was now very similar to the European one, with most consumers buying phones through mobile service providers, rather than buying them outright. In either case RSupport was happy to work with either handset manufacturers or mobile service providers to provide them with a reliable support service. Surprisingly, he said that in the company's experience, it was handset manufacturers, rather than providers, who were keener to support their devices remotely.
In terms of language support, RSupport has followed Google's lead when it comes to Android, with the software supporting 43 languages. This includes all the major European languages, and so this shouldn't prove a problem for the company's move into the region.
European pricing hasn't been set yet, but in Asia the RSupport RemoteCall +mobile pack costs around $1,500 per support agent. This compares favourably to LogMeIn Rescue (with added support for Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry, Android, iPhone and iPad) at nearly $2000. From our first look at RSupport's offerings, then, it seems to be providing considerable competition to the current players in what should be a rapidly expanding market.
Author: Seth Barton at MWC in Barcelona