It took more than 17 months for Jackson Systems to research and build the Virtual Technician app, which won gold in the Contractor Services and Software category of the 2018 Dealer Design Awards. The app came about as a response to the technical support calls the company was receiving from contractors.
“We determined that if our engineers could see what they were looking at in the field, the troubleshooting would be so much easier,” said Carl Kasten, COO.
With the Virtual Technician app, technicians have instant visual access to the engineers at Jackson Systems, usually connecting with them within 15 seconds in contrast to the typical industry hold time of 20 minutes or more for product support calls. With engineers and technicians having instant face-to-face help, the time for a troubleshooting call is reduced by 75 percent, said Kasten.
Jeremy Ash, division manager, Airtron Heating and Air Conditioning, Indianapolis, is a fan of the Virtual Technician app, noting that his company rolled it out to team members in mid-May. “It is an efficient way to help with diagnosing zoning issues,” he said. “Our techs have iPads and can use the app as a resource if they are struggling to diagnose an issue with dampers, zone board setup, etc.”
The app is very simple to use, noted Ash, as users simply have to open it and hit Connect. From there, the technician is connected via video conference to a Jackson Systems representative, who can help diagnose the problem.
Josh Huck, general manager, Williams Comfort Air, Carmel, Indiana, has been using the Virtual Technician app since last fall.
“Pictures speak a thousand words, and video tells no lies,” he said. “This app eliminates voicemail, phone tag, and all the contextual translation of what goes on between people on the phone. Jackson Systems is a company that has always been known for solutions, and this just adds one more layer of ease in getting our questions answered.”
Kasten noted that the company plans to continue improving the app. Current plans include making an internal transfer feature, so technicians can work with the same support engineer if they need follow up, as well as instant document sharing, which will allow the transfer of technical support documents.
“We are also expanding our team with a home automation networking specialist to assist contractors with IT issues encountered when installing any home automation product,” said Kasten. “Another feature we would like to add is a conferencing feature, which would allow us to conference in manufacturers for additional support.”
The PM Workbench 1.2 from Data-Basics won silver in this category. The new web-based platform adds advanced analytic capabilities and was field tested by actual users, which is central to the design behind all of software from Data-Basics.
“Actively seeking feedback from our clients allows us to continually improve user interfaces and explore ideas for new features and products,” said Tim Carcione, director of development.
PM Workbench is designed to both enhance productivity and protect the contractor’s bottom line through three key features. First is the web-based interface, which allows real-time access to job site information from any internet-enabled device. Second is the integrated business analytics, which identifies source issues that affect the completion of all individual jobs, as well as the overall project. Third is the automated reporting features, which enhance team collaboration.
“Closing a contract at the highest profit level hinges upon collaboration,” Carcione said. “PM Workbench works to organize data from any variety of jobs, a multitude of employees, and limitless contracts.”
Since the release of PM Workbench 1.2, the in-house development team at Data-Basics has been building a series of new standard analytics for job progress tracking over time, profit, and projections to be available with the next release.
Taking bronze is HomeSeal Connect, a computer-controlled duct sealing system offered by Aeroseal, which provides live monitoring of the sealing process and a before-and-after report substantiating results. Since it seals from inside the ductwork, it can easily find and seal leaks throughout the entire duct system without any disruption or demolition.
The new features incorporated into HomeSeal Connect are the direct result of feedback from Aeroseal’s worldwide network of dealers, said Bryan Barnes, vice president of business development.
“We are in continual contact with our dealers via a variety of methods, including technical and marketing support calls, webinars, proactivity check-ins from our dealer representatives, and events including the annual Aeroseal Success Summit,” he said.
These new features include enhanced wireless connectivity, which allows technicians to monitor and control the sealing process from anywhere around the home using a portable tablet or laptop. In addition, advanced integrated circuitry improves the overall speed and performance of the equipment, and the new Aero4 injection system improves sealing speed by 25 percent or more, said Barnes.
Aeroseal plans to continue soliciting feedback from its worldwide network of dealers and incorporating that feedback in ways that make duct sealing as easy, effective, and profitable as possible.
Publication date: 7/23/2018