So…everyone at Verizon is taking notice of how valuable the Verizon Community is. So much so that one of your members was invited for a sit down with an exec in FiOS TV in a Verizon facility. Our guest blogger today is CL Justin and he is here to tell you about his “Surprise Meeting with Verizon” last week.
I received a surprise call from Bill Kula, Director - Media Relations, inviting me to come to Verizon’s Hidden Ridge facility in Irving,TX on Wednesday, August 17, to meet with Joe Ambeault, Director - Product Management. I think we are all aware that Joe is responsible for IMG development, so meeting with him sounded great to me and I immediately accepted.
As some of you may know, I am a long term satisfied FiOS user. In late September, I will have had FiOS TV for six full years, and I had the FiOS internet and phone service installed a month or two before that. While I was perhaps leading edge getting the FiOS TV service that early, I am a really a pretty basic user, having Freedom Essentials phone service, only two wired computers (occasional wireless use), one multi-room DVR, and two HD STBs (I do have IMG 1.9A though).
I have FiOS TV to actually watch TV, not play with widgets or spend hours gazing rapturously at the Guide, etc., so I was surprised to be selected.
As it turned out, Joe was unable to come down to DFW from New York, so instead I had the opportunity to meet with Shadman Zafar, Senior Vice President Product Development, as well as Bill Kula, Bobbi Henson, Director --Media Relations, and a couple other guys from the STB development area. A nice group of folks...
They all seemed very interested in what I had to say, took lots of notes, which I very much appreciated. Besides my comments described below regarding FiOS TV, I discussed my concerns about the Verizon websites. Things like the terrible performance I see on my fast FiOS connection and the difficulty in finding information due to poor organization.
We also talked about some issues with Verizon webmail, specifically the lack of "text only" capability in the new webmail interface, and my complete inability to upload a contacts list exported from Windows Live Mail. And, finally I expressed my concerns about Tech Support, the need for better training for the reps, and the need for much better communication with customers about network issues such as outages.
Since I was talking with a primarily FiOS TV group, I shared my wishlist:
1. Need to be able to save somewhere my Favorites, searches, really any STB customization and be able to restore it to a replacement STB, as well as populate it to other STBs in the account. Not just DVRs, but all STBs. The stuff could be saved on a local PC or My Verizon. (I don't care where; just somewhere I can get it when I need it!)
2. Want more HD channels (not really a big surprise to anyone...).
3. Mentioned a couple of DVR control functions I would like to see available via the web:
Set up a Manual Recording.
Adjust start and end times for recordings.
4. Absolutely need the ability to attach an external hard drive to different DVRs in the same account without reformatting. This is particularly important because the DVR records programs first on the external hard drive until full, and if a DVR fails and had to be replaced (not uncommon unfortunately) all recordings are lost, not just the ones on the internal hard drive.
5. Guide data still needs improvement. Better than it was several years ago, but still find frequent errors.
6. Refurbished STBs are a joke. My recent experience with replacing two SD STBs with two HD STBs resulted in me receiving two "refurbished" 7100 boxes, one of which refused to activate. And when Verizon sent a replacement for that one, it too failed to activate (different symptoms). Eventually Verizon dispatched a tech who was just great, he installed two 7100-P2 boxes and now all is well. But the refurbishing process really needs to be improved or Verizon needs to deliver only new boxes.
The remainder of my time there was spent observing the taping of an interview of Shadman by Phil Harvey of Light Reading (www.lightreading.com), a website dedicated to reporting on activities in the telecom industry. The interview was specifically about using smart devices with FiOS TV, and Shadman did a demo of using one to interact with the TV as well as access and view Flex View programs. The video should be avialable in a few weeks on the Light Reading website.
A final note: I have been a confirmed "non-smart-phone" user for a number of years, but I was positively enough impressed by the demo that I stopped by Costco on the way home and wound up buying an HTC Android Incredible 2! I have installed a couple of Verizon apps for the TV, still learning, slowly growing on me. But then you all know I am a dinosaur...
Anyway, that's it. My visit was fun, I hope I provided some good feedback to Verizon, and I managed to spend some money I had not intended to spend. Thus, contributing I am sure, to an improved US economy.
Welcome to the Verizon Community Blog created especially to keep our members up to date on the community. Here you'll get to know your community admins as they share stories, new ideas and ask for your feedback. Remember, this is YOUR community blog, so if you've got a great idea for a topic we should cover, let us know!