An Ontario municipality is putting the finishing touches on a network management project that will allow it to introduce content filtering services to customers of its ISP operation.
The City of Kenora went live with an implementation
of LogiSense Corp.’s EngageIP products in July, primarily to improve its ability to secure, meter and control access to Internet services for its constituents. According to Ian Pizey, Kenora’s Internet operations manager, the goal now is to introduce content filtering sometime before Christmas.
“”That’s pretty important, considering we’re a public entity,”” he said. “”We can’t have some of our remote sites having that stuff pop up on computers. We need to be able to address those issues from the darker side of the Internet.””
Brent Drewry, vice-president of sales and marketing at Cambridge, Ont.-based LogiSense Corp., said content filtering is a good example of the ways EngageIP customers are trying to further optimize the investments they’ve made in their networks.
“”It’s no longer just caching for the sake of caching,”” he said, “”It’s looking for additional features around that, given the next trend that we’re seeing, and that’s around protection from legal liability and productivity of employees.””
Pizey said customer care was originally handled in a very piecemeal way through a number of different application packages, which EngageIP has replaced. The biggest benefit, he said, is the ability to distribute customer care to a variety of buildings and people. In the past, only one desk with a single database offered a point of contact for customers of Kenora’s dialup, high-speed DSL, wireless broadband, Web hosting and e-mail services.
“”Because it was a Web-based solution and a SQL back end, it made the collection of the data and the ability to manage it and roll it out a lot simpler from an IT perspective,”” he said. “”It basically needed to be on a recognized platform and easily customizable,”” he said. “”Something done in ASP pages and SQL server on the back end was fairly industry-standard and didn’t tie us in to one particular solution or vendor.””
Kenora, which Pizey compared to other Ontario tourist spots like Muskoka, traditionally sees higher call volumes and customer incidents in the summer months, which further strained the Internet operations staff of three people.
“”We have a lot of people who come here in the summer and want service to get e-mail at the cottage,”” he said.
Drewry said Kenora’s challenges mirrored that of Norfolk, Va. and Orange County, Fla., which have also adopted LogiSense products.
“”We’re seeing government organizations moving more into public service, extending out Internet-related things,”” he said. “”We’re working with a number of potential customers right now in the U.S. that are looking to provide publicly-accessible WiFi.””
The Web-based nature of the LogiSense products means front-end staff are simply clicking on buttons to handle common problems with those kinds of services, Pizey added. “”We don’t have to have somebody who’s a system administrator setting up an e-mail account,”” he said.