Tech veterans combine to resolve consumers’ PC woes


20 Oct 2004

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A group of industry veterans have joined forces to roll out a premium-rate computer support and helpdesk service for consumers and small businesses aimed at resolving their computer problems, regardless of make or manufacturer.

A spokesman said the aim was to resolve 80pc of problems over the phone. The new company, PC Hotline, is also in the process of building a network of computer consultancies around the country in order to provide a physical presence if the computer problem can’t be fixed over the internet.

The initiative is the brainchild of the Plato ICT Group, a group of individuals working in various companies in the ICT sector who identified an obvious gap in the market for helping consumers and small businesses with their computer problems. The individuals come from companies that include IBM, AIB, Bandwidth Communications, O-Tech Solutions, Instant Communications, Computer Network Services, Sage, MoneyPoint, TechniPoint, Impact Systems and SW Carthy & Sons.

It is understood that the PC Hotline service will be manned by at least four technology experts at any one time, operating between 8am and 9pm everyday. The company said it has plans in place to expand this number to 20 as demand for the service grows. The PC Hotline can be accessed at the premium rate telephone number 1850 22 33 44 and the group will also publish solutions to frequently asked questions online at www.pchotline.ie .

The managing director of PC Hotline, John Kelly, explained: “We are going after a market that is not well supported by the PC manufacturers. These are small office home office workers and the general consumer. Warranties on computers are often cancelled if a problem arises when a consumer connects a digital camera or another type of device to the machine, leaving the consumer in a catch-22 situation. We are there to help them when they need help. If the problem can’t be fixed over the phone, we are in the process building a network of contractors around the country who can do site visits.”

Lorcan O’Toole, director of PC Hotline, said: “We expect to solve 80pc of problems within the first call. It doesn’t matter where you bought the PC or what type it is.”

Kelly quoted Central Statistic Office figures that estimate that there are up to 1.8 million PCs in homes around Ireland. “We estimate that each PC will give rise to a call every three years, which we believe is a reasonable milestone worthy of setting up this business.

By John Kennedy