Spotlight on our experts: Supporting a growing customer baseMarch 1, 2022
We’re experiencing remarkable growth at Active Silicon at the moment, so for this instalment of the “Spotlight on our Experts” series, we interviewed Graham, our Application Support Specialist, to see how our support team are assisting the increasing customer base.
We know that a customer-facing job means that no two days are the same, but what does your role consist of?
Customers from all over the world contact us with technical queries by email or phone and I’m usually their first point of contact, so have to be prepared for anything! This means answering questions on hardware, software and customizations, so I need to have thorough knowledge of all our products and capabilities. I work closely with the Engineering team for support on the more in-depth technical points and spend some of my time researching camera compatibility and performance specifications.
Testing also forms a large part of my role, as I evaluate new firmware and driver software releases along with other support for sales and R&D. I’ll report any bugs that customers have informed us of and try to replicate these for in-depth analysis and evaluation. Additionally, I can advise on performance enhancements and alternative methodologies for customer applications.
With Active Silicon’s order book at an all-time high, the volume of customers is growing which will inevitably lead to more customer queries. How do you plan to continue delivering the world-class levels of support that Active Silicon is renowned for?
We’ve been working on making some solutions and instructions more widely available, so that customers can find the answers they need without having to contact us directly. We now have explainer videos available on our website and YouTube channel, for example, on how to configure a pcf file and how to use our camera/frame grabber frontend software, ActiveCapture, to enable live acquisition, analysis, display and recording of video sequences.
We’re also adding application notes on some of our product listings. For example, frame grabber users can download information on using a Camera Link or CoaXPress uplink trigger to initiate camera acquisition and also the use of FireBird’s built-in timers as user-programmable camera trigger sources. Also Harrier camera and interface board users will find additional help on the product pages.
We’re in the process of creating more of these resources so that FAQs are addressed and answered.
What have you seen change in the 6 years that you’ve been with Active Silicon?
When I joined Active Silicon, frame grabbers were our dominant product. We’ve since widened our product offering substantially to include customization of embedded systems and an extensive range of autofocus-zoom cameras and interface boards. So my image processing skills have extended to camera modules and their integration into customers OEM systems.
As computer vision is being adopted by a wider scope of applications, the queries we have are coming from a more diverse array of sectors. For example, I was recently asked to help with a customer designing an adaptive optics correction system for a telescope to perform real-time atmospheric aberration correction with a deformable mirror. This required the feedback from the camera via our grabber to be as fast as possible and our low-latency hardware design allowed for this. You can read more about how this set up works in our news story.
If you could wave a magic wand and solve one common imaging challenge, what would it be?
Our frame grabber documentation is getting better all the time and a substantial amount is now available on our website. I would encourage customers to explore all our website resources if they experience a problem, as these are available 24/7, and offer lots of answers to common questions. Of course, if they still need a personal touch, we’re readily available on a one-to-one basis.
What do you do to take your mind off work and the pressure of having to be the person with all the answers?
Motorcycling is a passion for me and I hope shortly to start trail riding around the UK’s green lanes in the coming summer. I also enjoy mountain biking several times a week to keep fit and often arrive at the office on a rainy day covered in mud after passing through the local park!
Being a relatively small and agile business means that we can respond quickly and personally to customer questions and we pride ourselves in delivering first-class product support for the lifetime of our cameras, frame grabbers and embedded systems. Find our contact details on our website, along with solutions to some of your imaging challenges.