The Real Teamviewer Problem Is Not Security
When Teamviewer was first launched in 2005, it looked poised to dominate the industry with its innovative technology. And dominate it did, surviving the latest (I know what you all did last summer) security breach which sent flocks of users on the path of looking for a more secure option but did not make a real dent in its business.
About five years ago I started a new job as a marketing associate. The company had some rigorous security measures in place which required me to install a VPN. It’s a simple process, but we had the IT department do it for multiple reasons. Using Teamviewer’s capabilities, the IT guy installed the VPN. He used Teamviewer to take over my screen and completed the whole process in less than five minutes. This exact same task has had to happen on Teamviewer multiple times – conservatively 10,000 times but more likely 100,000 or more. (Your guess is as good as mine.) The task is extremely simple with device identification and software configuration requiring little more than a few simple clicks. It’s a sequence that one would assume is easily teachable to a machine.
Executing this type of task in this way is inefficient considering todays advancement in machine learning. The details for a more efficient way to execute such tasks don’t matter. The process could have been 100% automated or guided the end user through a process with a technology offered by a company such as WalkMe.com. Maybe it needed an IT person to help the machine in the initial identification of the system configuration. The moral of the story is simple. Had Teamviewer had the vision to use its data to help its customers in more advanced ways, today it would have had intelligent systems remotely supporting more customers faster with the help of less IT professionals. And by choosing not to pursue that path, it has betrayed its users on a front that is just as important as security.
Teamviewer’s mortal sin is its failure to lead. The world of technology, led by companies such as Google, Facebook and Salesforce, is identifying the shift in core values from the channel itself to the data it delivers. Yet Teamviewer has been sitting on loads of extremely valuable data and, as far as we know, doing nothing with it. Positioned as a key player in the tech support business in which there is a constant struggle to keep up with demand, with forecasts anticipating a ever-growing demand to “Support Of Things” in the near future, Teamviewer appears to be missing its key target – that of addressing its primary customers’ needs for scalable support models not to mention driving innovation in IT and helpdesk worlds.
What did Google do?
Consider Google for a moment. Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a Gmail account? Google happily offers its number one email service (which includes multiple features that other services used to charge good money for) to everyone worldwide without charging its users a cent. Google was ahead of the game in its thinking process. The company realized that providing the best email package for free gave it an opportunity to tap into the data that is stored within emails. That data is invaluable and has proven to be more useful to Google than any amount of monthly service charges it could have earned from its 1 billion-plus users. Facebook offers us another example of a company understanding the value of data in a non-monetary constraint. Although many thought Facebook way overpaid when it purchased the popular messaging company WhatsApp for a hefty $19 billion (Google had previously offered to buy the company for $10B), what Facebook saw was a massive chance to acquire the data flowing through the app.
On the other side of the isle sits Teamviewer, a company who has access to so much data it’s basically unquantifiable, yet has not even started putting it to work. And at this rate, by the time Teamviewer’s leaders actually begin utilizing all of the data it’s been channeling for years, it will be too late. There are already several Teamviewer alternatives that are implementing newer technology and building a better product. Teamviewer may very well lose its market share that it has worked hard to build to a competitor who’s been ahead of the game and has the forethought to change the future of technical support.
The Future of Technical Support
Technical support is currently a large part of what many companies are investing in and in the coming years it will be even more dominant. As tech becomes more engrossed in everyone’s lives, support cases will inevitably increase. With today’s tech support companies already heavily focusing on solutions involving automation, augmented reality, and virtual reality, there is no room for companies stuck with last decade’s technology. Some of the most innovative companies are already focusing on holoporting which uses 3D capture technology that enables 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted anywhere in the real world in real-time.
Teamviewer could have easily established itself as being at the forefront of technological advancements. It could have led us towards a future in which machines are capable of fixing other machines. Instead, Teamviewer stuck with what it had back in 2005, albeit with a few insignificant advances. It has worked for sometime but will it continue to work as competition grows and new, more evolved and scalable solutions are springing up on a weekly basis? Only time will tell.