Posted on Monday, January 26, 2015 in Member CommunitiesBlog written by Rob Swenson
Working remotely, a school administrator from Ipswich recently helped a student gain access to a closed gym. The feat is noteworthy mostly because the administrator was about 30 miles away from the gym, and he used mobile technology to open a locked door.
Kelly Brandner mentioned the incident as an example of how the Ipswich Independent School has used a new technological service recently installed by Valley Telecommunications of Herreid. Brandner is the customer service and marketing manager for the telecommunications company.
The school system in Ipswich is one of the first clients Valley Telecommunications set up for a new line of automation products for homes, farms, businesses and institutions. Valley is among the member companies of Sioux Falls-based SDN Communications that has begun offering the Clear2there products and services.
“Quite honestly, the sky’s the limit with what you can do with it.”
SDN member companies across South Dakota already offer a variety of phone, Internet and Cable TV services in their markets. Through a partnership with Clear2there worked out by SDN, the member companies are beginning to also offer smart-premise and video-monitoring services that can be controlled through a personalized app on a cellphone or other connected device.
Clear2there products essentially leverage broadband connectivity by providing clients the capability to remotely control and check equipment such as door locks, thermostat settings and medical devices.
Surveillance cameras can be installed at schools, businesses and homes to remotely keep watch on activity inside and outside of buildings. Electronic sensors monitored from a distance can help farmers and business people keep track of the amount of fuel in a storage tank or how much grain is in a bin.
Homeowners or business employees no longer have to nervously enter dark buildings at night. Lights, locks and even alarms can be activated on a mobile device before they enter the building.
Valley Telecommunications will host a series of open houses and demonstrations in February and March to demonstrate potential uses of Clear2there products and services.
In addition to Herreid and Ipswich, Valley Telecommunications serves the north-central South Dakota communities of Pollock, Mound City, Glenham. Eureka, Long Lake, Leola, Hosmer and the surrounding rural areas.
Members of the Valley Telecommunications team are working together to promote Clear2there, Brandner says.
“We are excited,” she says.
SDN is owned by Valley Communications and 16 other independent phone companies that serve 80 percent of South Dakota’s geography. Local companies in SDN’s network can customize their offerings to fit the needs of towns and rural areas in their markets.
Midstate Communications Cooperative of Kimball is another SDN member that is in in the early stages of marketing Clear2there products.
“We’re not in a full-speed forward stage, but we’re moving forward in a nice, gradual pace,” says Chad Mutziger, marketing director. He describes it as being in the soft launch phase.
In addition to Kimball, Midstate serves the central South Dakota communities of Fort Thompson, Chamberlain, Oacoma, Pukwana, White Lake, Stickney, Platte, Geddes, New Holland, Delmont, Academy, Gann Valley and the surrounding rural areas.
“In coming months we’ll be gearing up for full market launch” Mutziger says.
In the meantime, prospective customers are welcome to stop by the Midstate office in Kimball or Chamberlain to check out displays.
Access to better service is one of the main reasons people should buy automation products for their home or business from a local company such as Midstate rather than from a big-box retailer that might have a call center in another state or country, Mutziger says. The price of Clear2there products is also an attraction, he says.
Clear2there products have an impressively wide use of applications. The objective is improve and simplify the way people live and work.
“Whatever the situation is, it seems like they have a device that will serve it,” Mutziger says. “Quite honestly, the sky’s the limit with what you can do with it.”