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Real-Life Tech Support - Expert Consultation

Previous Page: How a Real Life Tech Support Call Saved Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
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This case study highlights several important factors you must consider when planning your remote monitoring system:

  1. You must work hard to stay ahead of industry changes. Standards are going to change, manufacturers will sometimes go out of business, and your business requirements evolve. You need a plan to maintain a single, cohesive monitoring system.
  2. You must choose a partner you can trust. Remote monitoring systems can never truly be a commodity. There's too much customization required, and there's too much at stake. Be careful of choosing the absolute cheapest option you can. Is tech support included? Can you get training at a reasonable price (or free)?
  3. You must find a vendor that will offer customization. At some point, you're going to run into a tricky situation. It's possible that NO ONE has developed a solution for it yet. If you've chosen a capable vendor, you can still get a custom-engineered solution at a reasonable price (or possibly no fee at all).

The Legacy Masters Were Dying

And unfortunately, that is exactly what was happening. Lippincott's Badger masters were increasingly prone to failure. He knew of no way of getting support or spare parts for the Badger systems, and Lippincott had to make repairs himself from cannibalized systems and a dwindling stock of hoarded spare parts.

Legacy Remotes
The T/Mon NOC can integrate a whole host of legacy remotes and other equipment into one system because it can communicate in over 20 protocols (computer and device languages).

"I had kept enough spares over time, so I was managing to keep them up. But once something goes wrong with these systems, it's hard to get them back up again. And it's a pain to set them up again once you have them running, too," said Lippincott.

The Badger remotes were deployed throughout Alabama and Georgia, monitoring older systems, mostly legacy analog microwave sites, according to Lippincott. "The microwave sites are older, but it's all significant equipment," said Lippincott. "Also, in all of the places we use tower lights, which are also monitored by the Badgers, and if they go out it's a pretty hefty fine."

Tech Support Call Revealed the Solution

Lippincott knew he had a problem, but he didn't know the solution to his problem was at his fingertips. Lippincott already was using T/MonXM to poll the more than 500 DPS Telecom remotes that were monitoring the newer parts of his network, and he was familiar with its capabilities. But until he saw "Badger" listed as an option in the T/MonXM software, Lippincott didn't know that DPS Telecom had developed a solution for polling legacy Badger remotes.

Lippincott's tech support call to Ron Stover turned into an expert consultation about how to create a legacy support solution for Southern Company.

"Glenn was very interested when I told him there was a software module for legacy Badger support," said Ron Stover. "I told him that we'd developed this solution for another client who had the same problem. We started discussing Glenn's issues with the Badger masters and how we could replace them with his T/MonXM system."

Next Page: Developing the Custom Solution
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