Our annual Member Information Conference (MIC) is a great opportunity to not only explore the many ways our Members use NISC solutions, but also to provide updates on new features and functionality within those solutions. The Utility and Telecom Product Roadmap Sessions are always our highest-attended sessions at the MIC, aside from the Opening General Session, and we greatly value the feedback, questions and discussion of what’s next for NISC solutions. This year’s product roadmaps were no exception. From updates on our Engineering and Operations solution, MapWise, our unified iVUE Connect platform, and our newest solution, the NISC User Services System – Members had the opportunity to learn the latest on these NISC solutions and how they can bring value to their organization. Another important topic in this year’s roadmap sessions was customer engagement and how NISC is working to help our Members put the power in customers’ hands. From easily paying bills or integrating smart technologies with SmartHub, to providing a managed WiFi tool to help end-users understand broadband capabilities, NISC’s solutions provide a great way for customers to be proactive and engaged with their service providers. NISC’s newest solution, the NISC User Services System (USS), was a key discussion point during our Telecom Roadmap Session. Earlier this year, NISC acquired Austin-based Affinegy and launched USS, which enables Members to increase broadband efficiency and customer satisfaction by providing WiFi management, CAF-II monitoring and reporting capabilities and the ability to remotely administer network changes, firmware updates and more. To learn more, check out this video featuring NISC Vice President of Product Management David Bonnett recapping the roadmap sessions from the #2019MIC.
NISC has completed the first deployments of the User Services System (USS), a major milestone since the acquisition of Affinegy and the market launch of the User Services System. The NISC USS solution is a singular platform used to support managed WiFi services and remote management of customer premise equipment leveraging the Broadband Forum TR-069 standards. This integration milestone provides measurable value beyond stand-alone Auto Configuration Server (ACS) solutions and is proof of the speed of integration enabled by the USS architecture and Open API interface. The initial integration with iVUE Customer Care & Billing, iVUE AppSuite and SmartHub are designed to simplify the on-boarding of managed devices and enablement of managed WiFi services without the swivel chair operations that are required with competitive solutions. Marcel Gelinas, Inside Tech and Support Coordinator at Hay Communications, was a trailblazer as the first Member live with the integrated solution. “Hay has been deploying TR-069 for some time but looking for a solution that would integrate tightly with the NISC Enterprise we use to run our business,” said Gelinas. “The deployment of USS has been incredibly smooth and the NISC team has been outstanding.” For more information on NISC USS and the various integration points in the iVUE Enterprise System, please contact the NISC User Services System team at email@example.com.
The 2019 Member Information Conference (MIC) has come and gone, but we’re still reminiscing on what a great week it was collaborating and building relationships with you, our Members. Each year, the key focus of the conference is learning more about the topics and challenges facing our industries and how NISC solutions can help accomplish your goals. MIC sessions wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the help and participation of our Members who know and use our solutions every day. This year, among the 180-plus learning sessions offered to attendees, 69 NISC Members helped lead sessions that provided first-hand knowledge and best practices with fellow attendees. To recognize their contribution to the conference, NISC once again recognized top Member sessions with the MIC Member Experience Awards as voted by attendees via the MIC app. Presenters of the top sessions were recognized onstage Sept. 26 during the Closing General Session. Below are the recipients of the 2019 MIC Member Experience Awards. AP Workflow and Electronic Invoice Authorization Sarah Madden, Butler RECA Is it Audit Time Already? Survival Tools and Best Practices Luke Steen, Capital Electric Cooperative Notify! Notify! Notify! Keep Your Customers in the Know Lisa Webley, Reliance Connects Creative Ways to Use iVUE Bethany Chinadle and Marcella Holden, Triangle Telephone Cooperative Query Builder Tips and Tricks John Tandy, South Slope Cooperative Enhancing Your Member Billing Statement Justin Stuva, Corn Belt Energy Corporation SmartHub New Service Signup Louise Blackman, Peace River Electric Co-op Using Drones in an Electric Cooperative Mark Dinkel, Wheatland Electric Fantastic Gains with E Signature Missy Biegler, Powder River Energy Corporation Big Change Through Small Steps Michael Whiddon, Holy Cross Energy Check out this video featuring our own vice president of Member Support [...]
While NISC President and CEO Vern Dosch isn’t retiring until the end of 2019, the date of Oct. 18, 2019, will also likely be etched in his mind. On that day, NISC named its Mandan campus the Vern Dosch National Campus, and unveiled the Vern and Lynne Dosch Scholarship to honor the tremendous impact the Doschs have had on not only the Bismarck and Mandan communities, but the NISC family and rural electric and telecom industries. Bismarck State College, Light of Christ Catholic Schools and the University of Mary were named recipients of the NISC endowment to begin the scholarship programs. Watch a video recapping the momentous day: NISC Mandan Campus Dedication & Dosch Scholarship Unveiling
Broadband connectivity has become a critical component of each and every community across the nation. It’s an essential tool, not just for web access, but for a host of crucial industries from education to healthcare. Providing reliable and efficient broadband service is core for many of our Members, but having effective solutions to back up and enhance your service is just as important. One of those solutions is the NISC User Services System (USS), a powerful, hardware-independent, cloud-based tool, to help enhance your customers’ internet experience while reducing costs. Check out some of the ways USS can increase your broadband efficiency and customer satisfaction! Educate and Empower CustomersCreating a smart home is no longer a vision just for the early-adopting techies in your service area. Many households are adding technology from smart TVs to thermostats to multiple cameras to build a connected home. However, as consumers continue to plug in gadgets and more frequently stream online, the service package they initially subscribed to may no longer fit their needs. Now more than ever, it is key to educate your customers on their usage – and the devices they have affecting it. With the NISC User Services System, you can provide customers the tools necessary to view usage, resolve connectivity issues, set alerts and manage all devices they have connected to their WiFi at any given time. An educated customer is an empowered customer, so place the power of WiFi management in their hands and increase satisfaction through offering self-care options. Troubleshoot Without Truck RollsThe NISC User Services System can also help your organization resolve broadband service interruptions, or even correct them before customers become aware of an issue, by managing the internet gateway and the [...]
NISC’s iVUE Enterprise System provides IT support to telecommunications and utility organizations nationwide. These solutions help our Members with their daily tasks - from accounting, to billing and payments to operations and line work. When NISC launched SmartHub in 2012, it was the first time our solutions went beyond the traditional e-bill solution and directly into the hands of telecom and utility customers. These end-users now had a powerful tool that could help them interact with their provider with bill pay, service interruption reporting or other essential features right from their mobile phone or tablet. “SmartHub was our first venture into the app business,” said David Bonnett, vice president of Product Management for NISC. “We were able to put some of the most important self-service features into the hands of end-users, allowing them to really take control of their telecom or utility accounts.” The SmartHub app not only allowed end-users to pay their bill with ease, but also enabled communication features that encouraged more engagement with their provider. Telecom and utility customers could get the latest news about their utility or telecom provider, find out about service interruptions or even follow social media accounts. SmartHub has been a great tool for NISC Members, but as technology has progressed and smart devices and apps have become essential tools for everyday life, the time had come for the mobile app to get a refresh. Starting the week of October 28, SmartHub users will begin to see an update to the app available in their preferred app store. This update will provide a new, fresh look for SmartHub that will feature enhanced navigation that’s more consistent with the apps you use every day. [...]
Cooperation, community involvement and democratic control are a few of the principles that form the foundation of NISC. Those characteristics are included on the list of Cooperative Principles—and of utmost important to Adam Schwartz, founder of The Cooperative Way. Schwartz, an advocate of cooperatives of all kinds, spoke about the value of the cooperative business model and using technology to create and implement a cooperative culture Sept. 24 during this year’s MIC. Watch Ed Wolff, NISC vice president of Professional Services, follow up with Schwartz to ask about the viability of the cooperative business model and how it has shaped his life: Technology & a Cooperative Culture - Adam Schwartz
As a technology cooperative, we enjoy incorporating innovative advancements not only into the solutions we create for our Members, but also into our premier learning event – the Member Information Conference. We’ve been so excited by the growth of this conference over the years, but with growth can sometimes come a lack of personalized attention and one-on-one time. Our mission is to always make each and every one of our Members feel at home at the MIC, and we took extra steps this year to ensure that. This year, Members noticed quite a different set up in our General Session hall, including a nearly 14-foot-high ribbon screen and seating in the round, which allowed attendees to be closer to the stage. “I leaned a little on my theatre degree/background for this year’s MIC,” said Sarah Thorowgood, CMP, CMM, NISC senior meeting and event planner. “When I was a set designer many years ago, my favorite sets were in the round. When you work in the round, you pull the audience in as close as possible; everyone feels as if they are on the stage with the presenter. There’s a connection made for the presenter too. They can see the audience’s faces and read their reaction to the information being given to them. At the 2018 MIC, the furthest seat from the stage was just about 200 ft. away; in 2019, with the set in the round, the furthest seat was at 95 ft.” Conference Technologies, Inc. (CTI), whom NISC has partnered with for many years to help put on the MIC, was essential in bringing the vision for the General Session hall to life. CTI and NISC staff members had regular planning sessions for months [...]
One of our favorite events from this year was our #CoopStrong March to the Arch for charity. Not only did we get some exercise before a long day of sessions and witness an incredible sunrise by the St. Louis Arch, but we got to support two local organizations whose mission is to help children in the St. Louis area. The Saint Louis Crisis Nursery is an independent, not-for-profit agency which provides a short-term, safe haven for children, birth through age 12, in the St. Louis area. The Crisis Nursery is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and takes in children whose families face an emergency caused by illness, homelessness, domestic violence or overwhelming parental stress. Since their founding in 1986, the Crisis Nursery has helped more than 114,000 children in the St. Louis and surrounding areas. Birthday Joy, founded by Cindy Lander Wallach, is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides birthday gifts to children in need. The organization works with social workers, case managers and children’s agencies such as Ronald McDonald House and Salvation Army to provide gifts to children who otherwise may not receive them and help make their birthday a memorable and joyous day. In addition to registrations from March to the Arch, Members also had the opportunity to purchase #CoopStrong items in the Swag Stop over the course of the MIC, with all proceeds going toward these two organizations. We’re excited to announce that more than $11,000 was raised for these organizations! Thank you to all who helped show that we are #CoopStrong by supporting children in the St. Louis area. Check out this video to learn more about our #CoopStrong charities.
Last week at the 2019 MIC, we unveiled a refreshed NISC logo and brand. And to be honest, we were a bit nervous about how it would be received. As we continue to grow and evolve, we want our brand to match the innovative solutions we work on every day for our Members. Change can be hard, but after nearly 20 years of service and innovation under our previous logo, we knew it was time. You may notice the familiar red and gray swooshes, which pay homage to our original NISC logo, while the smaller, light gray swooshes reflect the unity between our employees and our Members. The three colors that form our logo represent our Members, our employees and the relationship and partnership that binds us. One of the best things about our new logo? It was designed by our employees – the people who know our culture best. Our designers took into consideration NISC’s history, future and valued relationships, and developed a logo to reflect those vital pieces of our organization. We were blown away by the response at last week’s MIC. We’re so grateful that the message and meaning behind it resonated with you. We even heard that some of you loved it so much you wanted extra notebooks and stickers with our new logo! We know change can be hard, but NISC is committed to remaining a trusted partner to our Members. We hope that as you see our new logo in advertisements, at conferences or on social media, that it provides a sense of reliability and excitement for what’s next.