Feb 15, 2022 - Technology

Video tech support — from your car

Mock-up image of a remote service technician helping a car owner troubleshoot a problem.

Blitzz's video support software helps consumers troubleshoot problems with their car. Image: Blitzz

BMW owners who are stumped by their car's goofy gesture controls to change the radio station or turn up the volume can get real-time video instructions from a live human, who will guide them through what to do.

Why it matters: Consumers are increasingly overwhelmed and frustrated by the complicated technology bombarding their daily lives, and having an on-demand expert to hold their hand — even virtually — can make a huge difference.

  • "The customer is not expected to know software," says Rama Sreenivasan, the CEO and co-founder of Blitzz, a startup that's powering BMW's virtual roadside assistance and tech support feature.
  • "They just want visual empathy," Sreenivasan tells Axios. "All they have to do is hold the phone and show things to the technician. We provide that visual link — then the rest is handled remotely."

How it works: Using video support software from Blitzz, certified BMW technicians can remotely help customers with everything from roadside assistance to troubleshooting their phone's Bluetooth connection.

  • Drivers contact the carmaker's customer support line on their phone or by pushing the in-car call button.
  • An operator determines if the issue is something the customer can probably resolve themselves, and — if it is — they transfer the call to a certified BMW technician or BMW Genius for support.
  • The BMW rep asks permission to text a Blitzz video link directly to the customer's phone. Once the customer clicks the link, the two can communicate face-to-face.
  • Instead of relying on verbal cues and descriptions, BMW technicians can see firsthand what customers are describing.

Real-time video calls allow BMW technicians to see things they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

  • One customer complained their plug-in hybrid vehicle wouldn't charge properly. Over video, the technician spotted that a pebble from the customer's gravel driveway was blocking the charge port.
  • Another customer was able to get a BMW technician's help selecting the right coolant from the shelf of an AutoZone store.

The big picture: Blitzz's software is used by companies across a range of industries, including automotive, construction, utilities and telecom.

  • Besides remote video customer support, it also lets companies handle virtual home and equipment inspections, compliance audits and insurance claims, reducing the need for onsite visits.
  • With artificial intelligence and augmented reality, technicians can even draw on the screen in real time to identify key switches, valves or other points of interest.
  • "We're FaceTime on steroids for enterprises," says Sreenivasan.

The bottom line: You don't have to keep bothering your brother-in-law for tech help.

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