Software developer Motive Communications will launch a new application this week that aims to help telcos and ISPs solve their customers' technical problems.
The software, called the "Home Networking Service Solution" should assist users when they hit trouble either with their Internet connection and related applications, or with devices such as printers, modems, and routers.
Motive believes its software will appeal to telcos who are looking to increase their revenues by offering home networking services to consumers but who are concerned about having to invest heavily in technical support.
One key feature of Motive's software is that it takes a detailed snapshot of a user's PC when they first register with an ISP, recording relevant details such as printer settings, email server addresses, and IRQ values. When a fault subsequently appears, the software calls up this record and attempts to automatically locate the cause of the problem, preventing a call to technical support.
A tech support call costs an average of £14, according to Motive -- this is quite enough to eat away the profit on a customer paying £30 or less a month for a broadband connection.
If a call to technical support is needed, then Motive's software allows the support people to see the snapshot, and can also run more detailed analysis of the PC, which the company says will speed up the resolution of the problem.
Gerry O'Neill, systems engineering manager at Motive, explained to ZDNet UK that technical support issues will become more of an issue for telcos as take-up of broadband increases. "The early adopters of broadband, at the bleeding edge, were generally people who could solve technical problems themselves, but ISPs are increasingly signing up people who need more help," O'Neill said.
Motive's software will be sold directly to telcos and ISPs, rather than customers, and can be bundled directly onto an installation CD.