We get asked this question a lot when we’re first talking with prospective clients.
Frankly, the question was a surprise at first. The thought of commissioning software without visiting site at all was not one that really crossed my mind.
The reason for the question turned out to be very interesting; on the whole people really did not like it when programmers would do everything remotely. It would put a lot of demands on their resources and, sometimes, they felt that issues were not resolved efficiently.
Absolutely we come to site and work with your team during the commissioning process.
There is a place for remote work, and a lot of my time is spent at my desk working on systems stretching across the globe. There’s nothing better than being sat on a comfortable chair (Aeron user here), working on multiple large monitors (2*27 inch and a 24 inch in portrait) with good coffee and great music. Of course that’s the appeal to many other programmers as well and my view is that some take it too far.
For a small change, we’re more likely to tackle that remotely of course. If the change is very minor, then there may not be anyone on site (we will have tested the software on our systems prior to deployment) or we may have one of your team working with us to effect the change and test etc. There it doesn’t make sense to travel even if locally and certainly not if the project is 1000s of miles away.
But, during that initial commissioning, we are absolutely there on site with your team.
Of course, it would be fantastic if everything worked first time just as per the engineering drawings - but there’s always something. It might be a simple pin 2 and 3 reverse on an RS232 connection, but these days, it’s more likely to be an issue with networking.
Whatever it is, this is the time when we think our real expertise and experience can shine. With twenty years of fault-finding experience, we can work alongside your team and resolve the issues. We won’t play the blame game and, if the issue lies on our side, we’ll always hold our hands up. Being there on-site enables us to see exactly what the issue is, rather than relying on (sometimes) vague descriptions from Engineers who are already under a lot of pressure.
We’re pretty independent and smart - I’d rather walk around all the rooms, making notes of any issues I see and then sit down with the team with a list of issues to solve. I find this works better than distracting the team every few minutes with every single issue. If the opportunity is there, I’ll even buy a round of coffees and we can all sit down and go through the list.
Honestly, whilst I do love being sat at my own desk, it’s actually that feeling of being part of a team that I think only comes when you’re all on site working towards a common purpose. I like seeing the end results, I love those special moments when you get to sit in a half million pound cinema room and see what the team has created.
Doing this all remotely would require a lot of time on the phone with an Engineer verifying that the TV is turning on, and yes, the channel up/down buttons are working. Whilst we might be able to cut our charges slightly if we did do everything remotely, you would need to have someone dedicated to working as our eyes and ears, so it ends up being swings and roundabouts really.
So, yes, we come to site and work with your team directly. We bring much more to the party than simply programming your Crestron hardware and feel much of the value we bring to a project is only deliverable in person (but we won’t (often) fly to the other side of the world to change the software because there’s a new TV going in!).