Service Level Agreements
A service level agreement (SLA) is a written contract between a service provider and its customer; it should clearly define agreed levels of service and the consequences of non-compliance (from both a customer and vendor's perspective).
The growth of IOT and system interoperability has significantly increased the complexity of hotel TV systems and as a result, the SLA has become a critical component in the customer-vendor relationship.
With this in mind, Airwave offer eight tiers of SLA, ranging from telephone support to a nationwide rapid response service. Each tier operates specific service objectives but can be bespoked to cater for for individual requirements.
What's in an SLA?
Each SLA will clearly define the following:
- The scope of services covered.
- The service provider's responsibilities.
- The customer's responsibilities.
- Agreed performance metrics.
- Penalties for breach of contract or failure to adhere to metrics.
- Metric monitoring and communication process.
In the hotel TV industry, an SLA must minimise a hotel room's downtime and is often underpinned by fault response time metrics - how quickly must an Airwave technician remedy a fault from time of reporting to a fix?
Why do I need an SLA?
An SLA sets clear and measurable guidelines that form the basis of a customer-vendor relationship, protecting both parties and providing recourse for unfulfilled obligations. As mentioned above, this is especially important in today's technological environment of system interoperability and the IOT - (as is the nature with all technology) the complexity of today's systems can cause occasional issues.
Other noteworthy points:
- Prevents conflict that can arise from ambiguous or verbally agreed service obligations
- Ensures the maximum efficiency of (typically) expensive AV equipment
- Extends a product/system's life via the timely upgrading of software and firmware - this can typically be implemented remotely, with little to no disruption to the guest-room..
- Protects against potential infrastructure conflicts caused buy third party technologies.
- Minimises/prevents system errors that might lead to a hotel room being unrentable.
- Gives a hotel's management team peace of mind.
What can go wrong?
Issues tend to fall into four main categories:
- Manufacturer updates - manufacturers will often release patches, software and firmware updates that add functionalities to and/or improve their products but may compromise the efficient workings of a third party system or a network infrastructure.
- External provider issues (especially ethernet/wifi) - similarly, the integrity of a system often relies on a stable internet or wifi connection. The absence of this can cause a multitude of issues.
- Guest misuse - although steps are taken to lock down guest-room hardware, no technology is completely "guest-proof" (or even "staff-proof") and problems can arise from guest interference (pulling wires out, changing HDMI sources etc).
- Channel frequency changes - Freeview TV channels can periodically change frequencies (the most obvious example being the 700 MHZ clearance project) . At the simplest level, this requires the re-tuning of a portfolio of TVs but more onerous, the repositioning of a bespoke channel line up or channel "categories."