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To SLA, or not to SLA, that is the question....

I'm not sure whether to get a service level agreement, or not? Do we need one?

We've been asked this question many, many times before. So, we thought we'd write a nice blog about it.

(The short answer is:  yes. But don't let that spoil the article for you...)

Peace of mind

Airwave will always recommend a service level agreement (SLA) in conjunction with the implementation of a TV entertainment system. Some might suggest this is financially motivated, on the contrary - the very nature of TV technology and its myriad of external forces means it would be negligent for us not to recommend one. 


What's a SLA, and what should be in it?

We'll assume if you've read this far, you know what a service level agreement is. If you don't, never fear, we cover this off here


I don't need a SLA, I have a warranty

The evolution of IOT and system interoperability has significantly increased and improved the feature set of hotel TV systems. However, with greater sophistication comes greater complexity - and a level of unpredictability that can occasionally cause issues.

This is not a reflection on bad technology or lack of foresight, merely the intrinsic nature of a technological world that's forever changing, and forever evolving.

So in a nutshell, whilst a warranty will cover hardware failure, it won't cover issues out of the manufacturer or Airwave's control - which account for the vast majority of calls into our technical department.


What can go wrong?

Issues tend to fall into four main categories:

  • Manufacturer updates - manufacturers may release patches, software and firmware updates that adds functionality to and/or improves their products, but may compromise the efficient workings of a third party system or the network infrastructure.
  • External provider issues (especially 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 100% 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. 


Are Airwave's SLAs expensive? 

No! If they were, hotels wouldn't buy them.

This is a subjective question, but it's pretty straightforward to work out the tangible value of a SLA, by noting the cost of a room that can't be rented due to a malfunctioning TV, and multiplying that by the number of rooms that can't be rented over the course of a year....


Minimising downtime

In the hotel TV industry, a SLA must minimise a hotel room's downtime and is underpinned by fault response time metrics - ie how quickly must a technician remedy a fault from time of reporting to the fix.

With this in mind, Airwave offer eight tiers of SLA, ranging from a telephone helpline to a nationwide rapid response service. Each tier operates specific service objectives but can be bespoked to cater for individual requirements.


Keen to find out more? Get in touch! or 01403 783 483