Wandering around technical support on a Sunday…

How many devices are connected to your router? It’s the first question they ask you when you are seeking support for a connectivity issue. It seems to me that network providers haven’t quite grasped the impending reality of IoT.

Devices? What do you mean by devices is my response.

Computers the person answers.

OK – then I have 5 connected. Each person in the house has their own computer. Each of them has an Internet connection. Interesting. Why in the end would you start there?

Gartner projects that there will be more than 200 IoT devices in virtually every home by the end of 2025. So perhaps the better question would be what isn’t working? Or rather than how many devices (a lot) are connected, what isn’t working right now?

It would save a lot of time.

Of course the reality of trouble shooting is you can’t test the person you are helping first. What does that person know? What steps have they followed? Unless of course you were able to metric the router or connected device. An IoT of support as it were.

What would a remote support end point look like? First off you would need to have extremely exceptional security since the end point would sit connected to the router in my home. That device would have to be a reporting device which means it would be a sensor in the home. Like the controversy that cable companies created by not informing customers they were creating a mesh network by sharing a piece of the cable modem’s Wi-Fi the same is true of that sensor. I would need to know what it was capturing and when it was sending information.

The good news is by putting that device on my network they could quickly tell what I had already done. It would open up the home network to a little risk and we would probably want to review that going forward to make sure it wasn’t a risk for me.

I guess in the end it all focuses on the value, and goal of technical support professionals going forward. What it is in the end you are trying to do? Solve the most problems possible in a day? Or make sure people are able to use the service provided effectively?

Perhaps its time to stop assuming the problem is after the router and start with the router as the problem. It might resolve some of the frustrations your customers have.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.