AT&T's Tech Support 360 service -- positioned as a virtual helpdesk for small businesses -- has attracted more than 100,000 small business customers since its launch in late 2008. Next up, AT&T plans to work more closely with Intel vPro technology in 2010. In the meantime I wonder: Are small MSPs running into AT&T in the managed services market?
This isn't going to be a gloom-and-doom blog about big service providers stepping on small MSPs. Time and again, major broadband providers and telecommunications companies have attempted to offer PC support to small businesses. But many of those efforts have generated mixed results.
I suppose that could change if small businesses push for a single, predictable monthly bill for broadband, phone service, cable and PC support.
In AT&T's case, the company claims to be gaining serious momentum offering virtual help desk and permission-based remote technical services to small businesses -- 100,000 of them and counting. And in the first half of 2010, the AT&T Tech Support 360 service will "be the first U.S. service provider in the telecom industry to offer remote access support services built on Intel vPro technology," according to a statement from AT&T.
So what exactly does the AT&T Tech Support 360 service offer today? AT&T says it provides:
"remote 24/7 support by U.S.-based technicians and includes setup, configuration, troubleshooting and performance optimization for PCs, laptops, Wi-Fi networks and peripheral network devices, as well as smartphone setup and configuration. Technicians troubleshoot computer hardware and software problems by remotely connecting to and accessing customer computers, diagnosing the problem and taking corrective action. Customers can get service by simply booking appointments by phone or online."One other question: If AT&T can't resolve the problem remotely, whom does the company dispatch for on-site support? I wonder if it's an OnForce service provider -- but need to check on that.
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