Employees across the UK are demanding a change in how, when and where they work. Recent research from Microsoft found that 87% of employees had worked from home in the past month and some 84% of organisations already have a remote workforce.

Many businesses are now gearing up to be able to meet these needs, with the result that the use of audio visual and video conferencing resources is on the rise.  AVM, a leading UK provider of visual communications, is one of the companies providing the tools and services for that purpose.

From local councils to large multi-nationals

AVM works with a hugely varied client base, ranging from the Wolverhampton City Council to large companies like Talk Talk, BT and the NHS, to design, install and support a number of different visual communication systems. Their services, which are hosted in the cloud, range from installing media walls and visual display systems, to providing specialised multi-participant teleconference systems.  

"We work with some of the UK's biggest companies," says Jared Lancaster, Chief Technical Officer at AVM, "and a lot of these companies are now looking for a way to offer a more flexible working environment for their staff. They ideally want a set-up where staff have the option of working from home, but can still enjoy the benefits of team collaboration and easily communicate with their colleagues via video conferencing."

While all of AVM's customers are very different and have unique requirements, the one thing they have in common is their need for an efficient and reliable visual communications tool that is guaranteed to perform - every time.

Introducing network monitoring

In February this year AVM decided to invest in Paessler's PRTG Network Monitor solution so they could monitor their networks 24-7, ensuring that the infrastructure on which their AV services run are in good health and that any issues are resolved before they have an impact on customers.

The company already had access to three network monitoring solutions through a company acquisition, but they were freeware and the concern was that they posed something of a risk - with no support and no development path. Jared Lancaster explains, "We looked for ages and did a couple of internal trials of competitor software, but they were just too messy and complicated, not to mention expensive. We had read lots of reviews of PRTG and decided to go with it based on its extensive feature set, the look and feel of the software, the affordable price and the unique iPhone and iPad apps it offers. We have not been disappointed!"

A sensor for everything

AVM currently uses 1,600 PRTG sensors, including Ping, HTTP(S), RDP, network throughput and WMI sensors. The different sensors are used to monitor all of their applications, such as mail servers, CRM, file storage, video conferencing infrastructure, client side video hardware and an ISDN routing switch. The key benefit, according to Jared, is the ability to monitor their systems at all times - using a variety of devices - and to quickly identify any issues that could lead to major problems in the network.

"We need a powerful tool to ensure we have the right insight into how our network is performing as more businesses look to offer a flexible working model and client usage grows," says Jared. "PRTG offers a single point of reference for us now and I feel 100% more in control than I have done in the past."

PRTG has also allowed AVM to save money. Specifically, AVM uses the SNMP sensor to monitor APC power strips for power, temperature and humidity as they are charged for power from a data centre provider and this allows them to keep tabs on their usage.

Flexibility across the board

Like AVM, Paessler is a business that functions with the needs of its customers in mind, and flexibility is always paramount. "Providing a network monitor that can be customised to suit all of our customers needs is important to us and it is what makes us different," says Christine Gebauer, Business Development Manager UK at Paessler. "We like to think that PRTG works so well for AVM because, just like them, we understand that there is no 'one-size fits all' solution. Our customers need the flexibility to monitor what they want, how they want and to display those findings in a variety of convenient formats."

"PRTG has solved a number of issues for us and the simple interface means that everyone can use it," concludes Jared. "Being able to monitor our network in a number of different ways from different devices and be alerted immediately to any issues, means we can rest assured we are providing the reliable services that our customers need from us."

"And, being in the business of visual communications, we simply couldn't resist 'visually communicating' our network monitoring findings - so we have four large screens set up on the wall so everyone can easily view the performance of the network at all times."