GERMANTOWN — A new app designed by college seniors will help GTel Teleconnections in Columbia County better serve their customers by working faster and more efficiently.
Graduating seniors at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, designed an online application specifically for GTel, which helps diagnostics and repairing service issues with clients at their homes.
GTel, a regional telecommunications provider based in Germantown, partnered with Marist College to develop the GTel mobile app as part of a Capstone Project, a months-long final project for seniors in collaboration with a private sector company.
G-Tel, formerly Germantown Telephone Company before changing its name in 2007, serves all of Germantown and Clermont, and is in the process of expanding into the towns of Livingston, Gallatin and Taghkanic.
The idea for a partnership came from Devin Overington of Germantown. Overington served as an intern with G-Tel for the last two years before becoming a full-time employee with the company last year. Overington’s advisor at Marist, computer science Prof. Christopher Algozzine, was looking for a senior project for his computer science students.
The result is two-fold: The telecommunications company is streamlining its services and the students are gaining hands-on, practical experience.
The G-TEL Service Automation Application automates tasks for line workers, cutting as much as 15 minutes each time a worker is dispatched and cutting down on calls to its home base, G-Tel general manager Frank Boscarillo said Wednesday.
“Previously, the line workers had to manually record serial numbers from networking equipment while on-site at people’s homes and businesses, then call back to the main office, relay the information, ask for assistance, and discuss the results of certain tests over the phone with another technician,” Algozzine said in a statement issued by Marist College. “Now those steps are handled by the application: the tech on-site is able to enter the serial number, or simply search for the device in the system by typing in a name or address. Then they can perform the diagnostics, reset passwords, reset lines, or even reboot or factory-reset the devices without any need to call the technician in the home office.”
GTel is seeing results immediately after the app began running in April, Boscarillo said.
“It is working out very well,” Boscarillo said. “It eliminated a lot of calls and, not only do our techs appreciate that but also the engineers that support the techs. It has been a game changer for us.”
The collaboration between Marist and G-Tel is expected to continue with a new group of students when college resumes in the fall, Boscarillo said.
“We have kind of mapped out some additional enhancements that we would like to see,” Boscarillo said.
Those enhancements would help the company save more time, Boscarillo said.
GTel is looking to expand its network after it was recipient of three grants as part of the New York Broadband Program. The goal of the grants is to provide service to areas that are unserved or underserved by broadband speed internet services. GTel’s grant award includes 5,000 individual locations, more than 250 miles of fiber optic cabling and represents a total investment of around $12 million, according to the company’s website.
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