Remote Access for Clients

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Posted on
Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:37 pm
Dewster35 offline
Posts: 1029
Joined: Jul 06, 2010
Location: Petoskey, MI

Remote Access for Clients

Wondering if anyone has a good solution for this.

I had planned on having a headless mac mini/indigo home automation install to both keep costs down as well as keeping the customer from hosing up the setup. This creates problems for them allowing me to have access to their computer.

Right now I THINK I have a somewhat clumsy solution, but I was hoping someone would have some advice on a better one?

So I would be using iTeleport VNC server on the clients computer and iTeleport client on my work mac. iTeleport uses a google service for authentication. I could set this up with a mutually known password, then I could have the customer go to gmail and change their password to something that only THEY know.

This works as long as I sign out of the client after I am done, otherwise it holds onto the connection. I'm not sure HOW long it holds onto it (I just tested it for a few minutes and then manually signed out) but it does seem to hold onto it for some period of time.

So my solution right now, is that if the customer is uncomfortable with trust (I wouldn't trust someone who had total control of my house and cameras!) I could use something like Join.me service so THEY could see MY screen. Heck, they could even watch what I'm doing during the changes I make. They could change their password, could watch me sign out and try to sign back in with an error and I'm hoping that would set their mind at ease.

As I said, this is clumsy and I don't know if it is real great, but it is at least something. Any ideas others may have would be GREATLY appreciated!

Posted on
Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:29 pm
roussell offline
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Posts: 1108
Joined: Aug 18, 2008
Location: Alabama

Re: Remote Access for Clients

What I've done in the past (not with Indigo but other systems) is to have a "service" menu screen with contact numbers, system stats and such. Also on that screen would be a button to allow remote access along with an indicator to show activation status and a short log window to show recent access.

For Indigo, all of my remote access is done through port forwarding over ssh (changed from 22 to something non-standard at the router) so the remote access button above could be as simple as starting and stopping sshd on the server. I'd have a separate script that checked the sshd service and reported it's status to an indicator on the service screen and grabbed the last line(s) of auth.log (grepped with the remote access username) and display them in a text area.

I'd probably also add system shutdown and restart buttons which added with other system-related information (CPU utilization, internet up/down, total/free memory, drive space available, etc.) can really help in remote troubleshooting. When running through the final system demo with the customer, be sure to explain how this menu is used, and that if for some reason you can't connect remotely, it means a service call.

I always do something like the above to help with customer satisfaction, haven't installed an Indigo system yet but will most definitely do the above when/if I do. Lastly, I'd never let them use the Indigo server for anything else other than HA related stuff that is managed by you. You don't need a bittorrent client, crazy Flash app or anything else potentially affecting the performance of the system.

HTH,
Terry

Posted on
Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:28 am
Dewster35 offline
Posts: 1029
Joined: Jul 06, 2010
Location: Petoskey, MI

Re: Remote Access for Clients

Thanks Terry. Some really good tips there.

Although some of it is over my head, I understand it enough to at least dig into it further and try to figure it out!

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