The reports find long-term growth depends on the ability to add support for new platforms and scale services.
Revenue for U.S. consumer
and small and midsize business technology-support services will jump by nearly
a factor of three in the next five years, and U.S. households will account for
more than 40 percent of the $30 billion market, according to new data from
Parks Associates. Broadband service providers, in particular, are driving this growth,
according to Park Associates' research reports, "Consumer Technical
Support Services: Overview" and "Opportunities for SMB Technical
Services such as AT&T's
ConnectTech and Tech Support 360, Verizon's Expert Care, and Comcast's Xfinity
Signature Support have increased awareness and use among consumers and SMBs in
the past year. Major retailers (such as Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max and
Staples) and OEMs (such as Dell and HP) are also important in promoting
technical-support services to a wider audience.
"The market opportunity
for consumer- and SMB-oriented technical-support services is significant
because it is currently underutilized," said Kurt Scherf, vice president
and principal analyst at Parks Associates. "One-third of consumers and 44
percent of SMBs experienced computer-related problems, but only 13 percent of
those people and 28 percent of those businesses used professional-support
The reports find long-term
growth depends on the ability to add support for new platforms and scale
services to provide for multiple channels of support. Expanding to include
on-site, remote and depot repair, with proactive maintenance services for
multiple devices, is key to growing the market.
"The foundation of
technology support services is in time-of-needed repair and troubleshooting
elements," Scherf said. "However, as this market matures, offerings
will include support of new devices such as smartphones and tablets. Providers
will augment their traditional plans with services based on a holistic model of
Chip giant Intel recently
announced the availability of a new on-site repair service for midmarket
companies. Intel On-Site Repair for Servers is offered through resellers to
customers with Intel server systems. The company noted SMB customers who do not
have their own IT support will be able to secure a three-year contract that
provides 24/7 telephone technical support, next-business-day on-site repair or
replacement and complete backing from Intel.
On-site repair services are
provided by a third party for Intel white-box servers. The contract provides
three-year coverage, and Intel helps diagnose the issue, while a technician
will replace faulty hardware on-site. The service is available for all current
and future generations of Intel server systems and modular server systems.
Users also have free access to a host of online services, including the ability
to download Intel software, drivers and utilities; view tested third-party
compatibility lists; retrieve technical specifications and other documentation;
and purchase spare parts online.