TeamViewer may be one of the best-kept secrets, at least in North America, in the world of IT. Founded in 2005 in Goppingen, Germany, just outside of Stuttgart, the company is known for its development of remote desktop support tools. TeamViewer's comprehensive set of solutions now extends beyond IT break-fix into remote access and controI as well as workplace digitalization offerings. I recently had the opportunity to spend time with TeamViewer at an event in Miami, along with one of its most well-known partners, Manchester United. Today, I wanted to share my insights into three of the storied football club’s TeamViewer use cases. Additionally, I’ll discuss TeamViewer’s longer-term potential to tap into new market opportunities.
Soccer (football) use cases
European "football" is gaining immense popularity in the U.S. My hometown of Austin, Texas, recently landed its first professional sports franchise in the form of Austin FC. While “the Verde” is only in its second season, it is exciting to finally have a team in the Live Music Capital of the World, especially given our international cultural diversity. Manchester United is essentially the model for what Austin FC, and many other football clubs, aspire to become. I’m also not surprised to see the legendary English club pioneering the use of technology to modernize its operations and fan engagement. After spending time with TeamViewer and Manchester United, three use cases stand out in my mind.
First, Manchester United uses TeamViewer’s Tensor enterprise connectivity solution to access large files anywhere in the world from its server farm in England. This capability allows the team to review prior game video footage for preparation and analysis while traveling to away matches. The coaching staff can also facilitate training sessions by using TeamViewer to update content on the player’s gym video wall display. An ancillary benefit is improved security of the team’s prized and highly guarded content; it’s much easier to manage TeamViewer Tensor’s single access point than a mix of different file transfer applications.
Second, the Manchester United grounds team uses TeamViewer Tensor to manage its irrigation systems, across multiple sites that are used by its academy, women's, and first-team players. Facility managers can access and activate the RainBird system from anywhere, giving them flexibility to react to weather changes and other conditions that can adversely impact playing fields.
Lastly, Manchester United recently began using TeamViewer Frontline technology to provide a more immersive AR experience to its museum guests. Initially, the technology is being deployed in the team’s trophy room, historical kits (or uniforms) collection, and the 1999 Treble exhibit (you can learn more about the Treble here). According to the team, the interactive experience will be extended into stadium tours and other fan activations in the future.
Extensibility into OT environments
While some may see AR as a consumer-oriented novelty, TeamViewer has bigger plans to implement it in operational technology (OT) environments in the enterprise with well-known brands such as Coca Cola, DHL, BMW, and more. Though TeamViewer has firmly established itself in the IT help desk world, the OT market presents a compelling opportunity for the company given its potential for explosive growth. The timing could not be better given the current attention on private 5G networking and its potential to disrupt non-carpeted areas of enterprises. Indeed, when paired with 5G connectivity, TeamViewer's remote-control capabilities that support embedded, headless devices in industrial environments have the potential to unlock manufacturing automation efficiencies and more. Moreover, the company’s investment in AR, as discussed in the last Manchester United use case, could separate it from the pack.
I have written about an application that I term "extended SME" in the past. These use cases, involving field service personnel, apply the “superpowers” of 5G (lightning-fast throughput and ultra-low latency) to a new class of folding, lower power devices and AR headsets designed to deliver a more interactive and intuitive experience. In turn, companies can send technicians into the field with modest levels of training, supported by experts in call centers that are accessible via the 5G-enabled equipment. AR can serve as a powerful tool in overlaying schematics and repair instructions with equipment in the field while giving the remote expert real-time visibility for help in diagnosis and repair. Faster time to repair is a game-changer (soccer pun intended!), especially when it involves critical infrastructure such as electrical services, oil and gas production/distribution, and telecommunications subscription services. One can only imagine the other business-to-business AR applications that TeamViewer could take advantage of in the burgeoning Metaverse. However, I view that as a long-tail opportunity given the Metaverse’s present immaturity.
I believe that TeamViewer has the potential to grow well beyond its remote desktop beginnings. A former business colleague of mine, Leslie Friend, was recently recruited to helm its North American marketing operations. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from tech heavyweights Dell Technologies, VMware and others. She has a tough job, considering that many companies in the U.S. don’t know TeamViewer’s value proposition. Despite the growing popularity of European racing and soccer in the U.S., many still may not recognize the company’s logo on the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team car and Manchester United team jerseys. However, with time and effort on TeamViewer’s part, this could change. If it does, the company stands to continue to benefit tremendously in IT environments from the transition to a more hybrid, remote workplace and the transformation of field service operations and OT environments.