Todd Anthony Puma and Mark Feinberg explore the features and benefits of SnapAV’s revamped and newly released OvrC 2.0 remote management and monitoring platform
Remote monitoring and support is essential, not only to our clients but also to our businesses. We can provide faster, more efficient support for our clients and we can monetize that support to make our businesses healthier and more responsive. Particularly in today’s environment, I do not know what we would do without the ability to see into our client’s systems, diagnose what is wrong and initiate corrective measures without ever having to roll a truck or enter a client’s home. We can keep our client’s critical infrastructure and entertainment systems up and running without violating stay at home protocols or asking clients to allow a tech into their home in these uncertain times.
We have been providing remote support to our clients for many, many years. It started with BlueBolt power conditioners, then we started offering Pakedge network products, and we added BakPak to our arsenal. When Control4 acquired Pakedge, with some gentle nudging from my friend Mark Feinberg, we gravitated to SnapAV’s Araknis brand and their OvrC remote management platform along with Wattbox IP power management. I have now been a huge fan of the OvrC platform for several years now, even partnering with Parasol to offer our clients 24/7/365 remote support. SnapAV has grown to be one of my favorite companies in the industry. I love how supportive they are of integrators and how incredible and helpful their tech support team is.
Today SnapAV announced the launch of a new and improved OvrC platform. This iteration is nothing short of awesome. They have incorporated hundreds of changes dealers have been asking for and have done it all on a new infrastructure which will allow more frequent and faster updates to the offering. The team here at The Source Home Theater and over at Home Theater Advisors have been among the thousands of beta testers for the new OvrC and we have all been thoroughly impressed.
Better Data = Better Client Service
We have all been able to provide better service to our clients and to make our businesses more efficient. With the introduction of offline use, we have been able to quickly see what devices are connected to which port on a switch or Wattbox, even if the switch or Wattbox is currently offline. This has sped up troubleshooting so much, because now I can instantly have access to the data to diagnose an issue, without having to dig into client documentation and cross reference that with what devices are showing as offline and online – it is all right there in OvrC. Additionally, pages load faster, so there is less time spent waiting for a device page to load, reducing that awkward silence with the client and again, getting us to a faster diagnostic and resolution.
Improved Mobile App
My team and I are also in love with the new mobile app. The app is now full featured – there is no more having to wait to be in front of a computer to perform essential functions, like setting up auto-reboots, entering port names, initiating a network scan, setting up or editing OvrC home commands and many more features. My techs in the field are thrilled to have this access and it has been invaluable to everyone in the office to better support our clients. I spend way more time on my phone as I do on my computer. I really only use my computer for programming and writing this blog. Other than that, most of my life is conducted on my phone, since I am always on the go. Having more features and settings available in the mobile app makes my life so much easier.
The Platform for the Future
With over 15,000 Home Tech Pros implementing OvrC and over 330,000 client sites on the platform, it is now official – OvrC will be the singular platform of the future for SnapAV. BakPak and Ihiji will be transitioned to the OvrC platform over time. I know what many of you are thinking, “Great, now I’m going to have to add new hardware to all my sites using BakPak or Ihiji which means a truck roll, and I probably can’t even charge my clients enough to cover my costs since there is no tangible benefit to them.” Well have no fear. The goal is for the transition to require no new hardware to transition those sites and to require no truckrolls to make it happen. That’s right, all of the transition can be done remotely. The SnapAV team will even be available to help you with the migrations.
Pakedge access points and Ihiji appliances can now be upgraded to OvrC. New firmware for Pakedge access points is eminently available in the Early Access beta program. Over time, additional Pakedge product will be added. Once most systems are transitioned and the teams are combined, development and improvements will iterate even faster without the burden of support three different platforms. With a new site being registered on OvrC every six minutes (that’s right, every six minutes), we need the team to be focused and cohesive. I can only imagine how much better the platform will be with a singular focus behind the scenes.
SnapAV has worked hard to make the new OvrC even more brand agnostic. While there is now even deeper integration with Control4, as expected, there are more than 25 third party brands with integration into OvrC. As SnapAV has been since infancy, they are an integrator-centric company and are not trying to create a closed system. They want to make all of our jobs better, not just the jobs that use all SnapAV/Control4 hardware or non-competitive product.
We can get deep information on everything from complimentary product like Sonos, Roku and Marantz to competitors like Ubiquiti, Lutron, Panamax/Furman and Crestron. I was amazed in the beta testing with the information available for Crestron hardware. It is more than I ever thought possible. Everything from IP ID information to soft reboots of processors is all available right from the OvrC interface.
Throughout the beta testing phase, we provided feedback directly from the OvrC mobile or web app. The team has been incredibly responsive, commenting on our feedback, asking clarifying questions and providing us with the status on our requests. This feedback will continue to be accessible with the full launch of the new OvrC. This means everyone will have a mechanism to provide direct feedback to the development team and all of us can see what is being requested and we can vote on what is important to us. This is just another example of SnapAV taking integrator feedback seriously and incorporating into product and services design.
Go ahead and start using the new OvrC today. You’ll be as thrilled as I am.
Todd Anthony Puma is the founder and CEO of The Source Home Theater, based in Matawan, NJ and serving the greater New York Metro area. Todd is a well respected Crestron programmer, media personality and business owner throughout the technology industry. After training, certifications, and success at a big box retailer, Todd founded The Source Home Theater to create the types of experiences he knew his clients craved: unique home installations, individualized attention, and access to top-of-the-line equipment.
Mark Feinberg is the owner and founder of Home Theater Advisors based in New York City, focused on residential AV, Networking and Smart Home. He brings an extensive background in management consulting, corporate marketing and corporate finance to his knowledge and expertise in the home technology space. He earned his BA from Dartmouth College and his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.