SmartHub WiFi

Managed WiFi Gets Smarter with SmartHub

 It’s Tuesday night, about 9 p.m. Bedtime. It is a school night, and the kids have to be up early. However, the sounds of a gaming system or tablet can still be heard, and it’s going to be hard for them to put the controller or device down and get into bed.

What’s a parent to do? Well, with a good managed WiFi solution, they have the option to shut the system’s connection off until the following day when game time is allowed to start again.

NISC’s SmartHub application has been serving Members for nearly 10 years, allowing them to connect with their broadband or utility provider through a mobile app. Customers have been able to pay their bills, contact their provider and view their usage data.

Now, with SmartHub WiFi capabilities, the SmartHub app has become a smart home WiFi management system. Powered by the NISC User Services System (USS), customers can take control of their home network, view connected devices, restart their system and even take advantage of parental controls.

“It’s been big for our Members to have a single app for customer engagement,” said Ryan Larson, Senior Product Strategy & Marketing Manager for NISC. “Many times, a customer’s broadband bill is going to be the same every month, so this feature set gives them another chance to engage with their customers, where they can not only manage their WiFi, but also continue to communicate through SmartHub.”

Broadband customers also have the ability to run speed tests through the SmartHub app that showcase both the speed from the device to the router, and the speed from the router to the speed test server. When attempting to diagnose an internet service issue, this helps a user determine if there is a local issue or a network issue.

Users can also get alerts when something is not working properly.

“If you log in, you can get a notification that your streaming device has low signal strength,” Larson said. “That may be because you have your router on one side of the house and the device on the other. The alert can offer a solution that suggests moving closer to your router, or even suggest contacting their provider about a mesh network. It could offer an upsell opportunity.”

One of the most popular features, though, is the parental controls. Reliance Connects provides broadband and voice service to customers in Oregon, Nevada and Arizona and has more than 8,000 customers using SmartHub’s WiFi functionality. Many of them utilize the parental control features.

“Customers like being able to shut off the internet at 9 p.m. or to have the ability to shut it off and say, ‘OK, go do your homework’,” said Josh Flick, IT Manager for Reliance Connects. “It really meets a lot of those parental needs.”

Reliance Connects provides remote troubleshooting services to their customers but launched the SmartHub managed wifi solution just over a year ago to provide customers with a little more ownership and control over their home networks.

“It really helped solidify our services that we’re already providing remotely,” Flick said. “We’re able to market it as a true managed wifi solution, where not only are we able to manage it, but the customer has options to manage things if they choose to as well.”

NISC has also taken a vendor agnostic approach with SmartHub’s WiFi functionality. The app features work with a variety of Broadband Forum Standard compatible routers and home gateways. Not all routers are built the same, though, so an older version may not be able to support every feature.

However, SmartHub WiFi makes equipment upgrades easy as well.

“The nice thing about our system is when you do have to replace a router, it’s going to remember your settings, the wifi name and password and all of that,” Larson said. “So as technicians do replacements, they’re not resetting everything, trying to remember the password. The customer isn’t going to every smart lightbulb and smart thermostat and trying to reset how it connects to the internet.”

SmartHub has been helping NISC Members connect to their customers for nearly a decade. But with SmartHub WiFi functionality, the customer can manage their connection to their provider along with staying in contact.

For more information on SmartHub and SmartHub WiFi, check out NISC’s Marketing solutions on NISC.coop or reach out to marketing.sales@nisc.coop.

NISC also has a free SmartHub WiFi marketing kit to help you let your customers know about SmartHub’s managed wifi capabilities. View some of the customizable resources on the NISC Community.