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Fix Your Computer Without Leaving Home

Remote tech services offer speed and discounts

HP says the most common problems it deals with are related to connectivity. Sometimes it's an easy fix. For example, Gagnerau says that to save power on HP's notebook computers, there's a single button that can turn off wireless Internet connectivity, but often customers hit it by mistake and end up calling support. Now, customer support agents simply ask if a particular icon is red (disconnected) or green (connected) and that resolves many of the problems in an instant. But he says the goal is to make support so easy that the customer never needs to get that far.

As computing has become more of a connected experience, and a multimedia experience, the calls that HP gets are increasingly about connecting other devices to the computer either wirelessly or with wires. Issues can start with getting onto the Internet but move toward getting streaming video from your computer onto your television, sharing pictures from your digital camera, or syncing music from your computer to an MP3 player. The challenge for HP is to help customers with a myriad of problems that may have little, if anything, to do with the HP computer that's on their desk. 

Going Mobile

Pugh says connections using airline Internet services such as GoGo are fast enough so they can remotely fix a virus problem on your laptop at 30,000 feet. Both HP and the Geek Squad say the next big challenge will be to provide remote support for such devices as tablets and smartphones. The Geek Squad already provides some support for BlackBerry devices, but Pugh says it may take awhile to develop support for multiple operating systems such as Android, Apple's IOS, BlackBerry and HP's WebOS.

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