How the Cleveland startup made their product free to help companies navigate a pandemic
As millions of Americans shift to a work-from-home model in the wake of COVID-19, many employers are faced with a new problem: How can all their employees stay connected without one central Wi-Fi network? That challenge can be an expensive one, but fortunately for companies across the country, Cleveland-based 7SIGNAL is here to help. Through the company’s Mobile Eye software, which can be installed on any Windows, macOS or Android device, 7SIGNAL can help monitor Wi-Fi performance for companies relying on remote employees — oh, and it’s free.
“The Mobile Eye software is unique because it can help with remote support for large groups of remote workers,” said CEO Tom Barrett. “It has an interface and usability that’s very simple and very easy to deploy to thousands of devices quickly. And the information you’re getting from it is actionable. That’s what our customers want — they want to know what they need to do to get people working as efficiently as possible.”
But 7SIGNAL isn’t just providing a necessary product — they’re giving it away for free. The company announced in early April that existing customers could receive 1,000 free subscriptions of Mobile Eye for 60 days, while non-customers could get 50 free subscriptions for 50 days. Barrett said the company had been trying to find a way to support companies during the pandemic and found the solution when a customer asked them for help.
“It started with one of our customers, whose IT group suddenly found themselves needing to support thousands of remote users instantly,” said Barrett. “When the quarantine started, their employees needed to work from home as seamlessly as if they were in the office. They didn’t have a budget and reached out to us and asked for help. Within 20 minutes, I responded, ‘Absolutely,’ and that launched our first program for existing customers. It was the right thing to do. There are no strings attached and no commitment — you don’t have to buy anything. We just wanted to help provide some quick support.”
For 7SIGNAL, the hope is that companies who take advantage of their free product will quickly realize that their software isn’t just helpful in the midst of a pandemic. As companies shift toward more permanent work-from-home solutions as a result of the coronavirus, employees will need to have better access to reliable internet from home. That makes 7SIGNAL’s tech more important than ever in a post-pandemic world.
“Historically, our customers and our target market have been companies that have mission-critical Wi-Fi,” said Barrett. “Either people’s lives depended on these Wi-Fi solutions or their lifeline to transactions require Wi-Fi. Now, that concept has exploded. As companies recover from this disaster, we’re built in. Mission-critical Wi-Fi use has now expanded to every organization as we all work from home. What happens if you need people to be 100 percent remote in a day? How do you manage that and support it and turn it on very quickly? It’s dramatically increased our targets, and now everyone needs support.”
For Barrett, Ohio’s swift response to COVID-19 was a crucial factor in 7SIGNAL’s plans for the future and their ability to help support companies during the pandemic. He said the proactive social distancing enforced by Gov. Mike DeWine’s office helped jumpstart the process so that 7SIGNAL could hit the ground running and be in a position to expand their business while assisting companies in need.
“It’s been inspiring to see how everyone is coming together to try and provide solutions and services in a helpful way,” said Barrett. “Gov. DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted have shown great leadership in quarantining very early. I think that’s helped dramatically and it’s allowed us to be much more nimble than we were in the past after being forced to work remotely. It’s not only changed the world now, but I believe it’s changed us permanently in how we communicate and interact with our employees, customers and partners. I’m thankful that Ohio is benefitting from those early actions.”