Spotlight: How we serve our partners and customers better through call analytics
By Øystein Hunnes, Videonor R&D Project Manager
Needle in a haystack: what information matters
If you’ve ever tried to troubleshoot a botched video call by examining the detailed log files generated by your UC infrastructure, you quickly realize a couple of things:
- There is A LOT of information there
- It’s really hard to understand what’s going on
- You need a person very specialized in analysis to help pinpoint the problem
But what is often less obvious is that buried in the same log files there’s information that is valuable on a different level altogether. If you’re selling/supporting video communication services, you probably want to know:
- Who among your customers haven’t started using your service yet, and how can we set them up for success?
- Which customers are nearing their current capacity limit?
- Is anyone consistently experiencing issues with call quality?
At some point you may find out about all of these things directly from the customer, but in some cases that’ll be too late. These are things that you would ideally like to know before planning a meeting with the customer, suggesting training, attempting an up-sell or even sending the next invoice.
Finding the right analytics tools
Extracting these kinds of insights from raw log files requires specialized tools for processing data and displaying them in a comprehensible format. Today, several players have launched competing product suites targeting the UC industry, each with extensive feature sets for fetching, storing, processing and reporting various log data. At Videonor, we’ve tested several of these, and while all of them do wonderful things, we were unable to find the perfect blend of features, integration options, customizability and pricing in a single solution.
To solve this, we decided to build our own analytics feature, and make it available to our partners by integrating it into the Videonor partner portal. Currently, partners can log in and access customer usage reports covering:
- The number of meetings per day for a given period
- The total number of meeting minutes
- The number of unique participants and their device/client type (sip, h323, WebRTC, Skype4B)
- The peak number of concurrent participants
Custom and predefined date range filters let you see usage trends over time, or focus on a particular burst of activity to understand what’s going on at that specific time. The reports can also be filtered to only include meetings taking place in a VMR, or involving physical endpoints or software clients. Usage can also be reported for a single VMR or endpoint.
For every report that lists meeting sessions, further details about a particular meeting can be accessed, including information about each individual connection, codecs used, and any quality issues experienced due to packet loss or insufficient bandwidth among the participants. Information about quality issues is also aggregated up to the higher-level reports, so you can become aware of them without trawling through many individual sessions.
Get ahead of the problem
We know that a lot of users will never complain or report issues, but instead silently endure until they’re fed up and leave. Identifying these users at an early stage through analytics can prevent a lot of grief. Video services have a lot of moving parts, and so while your own service may not be the problem, identifying issues they are experiencing gives your customers confidence in your expertise. Sometimes it’s as simple as pointing out there’s likely an issue with their Wi-Fi connection, or similar. This helps to facilitate trust and long term customer relationships.
As I said, log files are too often used only by a small group of people when troubleshooting a problem that has been reported. Our team at Videonor is ready to investigate before a problem arises to better serve our customers. If you want to see what else logs can do for you as a Videonor partner, fill out the inquiry form below.