Years ago when one bought a TV or other piece of electronics, it remained that very same item 10 years down the line that they had purchased a decade earlier, (albeit a little worse for the wear). Nowadays when you buy a product, before the week is even out it could be very different in that the device does “firmwear” updates, the content providers do updates and if you are using a mobile device to control it…yep you guessed it, that does updates as well.
Our Three Types of Service Call
Often this causes items that used to work together stop, which causes great challenges for integrators like ourselves as clients call to report this “thing we sold them” is “broken.” This has forced us to approach warranty and service calls in a new way. To better understand this let me break down the three types of service calls into individual categories.
- Repairs: This is either the in-warranty or out-of-warranty fixing or swapping out of a piece of equipment that is broken, (either mechanically or electronically). Sometimes this is because the unit has failed in some way or because it has been damaged by humans or critters. Examples of this might be a TV with a blue line across the picture, an amplifier that won’t turn on or a speaker wire that has been chewed through. Depending on manufacturers warranty status this may or may not be billable by AVT. Also a client adding a new device on the network they purchased themselves after our installation can cause crashing, slow response time or conflicts with other equipment.
- Updates: An electronic firmware update by a manufacturer or service provider that causes a conflict within the network. This often necessitates AVT having to do something either remotely (if the house and equipment supports this) or on-site with a technician visit. This is always billable time by AVT as there is no warranty by the manufacturer for such updates. Some of these are automatically performed and others have to be done by either the client or AVT
- Maintenance: This is the scheduled maintaining of the system. It includes for example such things as re-calibrating a projector or cleaning the air filter, cleaning the lenses on surveillance cameras, updating favorite channels buttons as programming changes and proactively performing updates and security patches on any of the equipment in the system that requires it. This is a new concept for electronics owners as again we were used to in the past buying a piece of equipment and just using it until it broke. The new electronics are more like a garden that needs maintaining; you wouldn’t call your landscaper and tell them the lawn they put in last year is broken because the grass is now three feet high and brown when it has never been mowed or fertilized.
In part two of this article next month I will be discussing new strategies and plans AVT is experimenting with rolling out to help control costs and keep all the electronics you have invested in running at peak performance. Stay tuned and keep enjoying the wonderful days of Summer.