Here is a review from Christopher Wright, a new user of just-launched RIM version 3.0. – Mike Calvo
Remote Incident Manager is a replacement remote control tool for other services such as TeamViewer. It also has the added benefit of being fully accessible to blind or low vision people, making it the ideal tool designed for everyone. With extremely low latency stereo audio, support for video output/mouse control, and most exciting of all, the ability to control any computer regardless of whether a screen reader is running or installed, this has the potential to open all kinds of opportunities previously unavailable to blind or low vision technicians. It can be used in many different situations, including tech support, training, or simply accessing your own computers or servers when you’re away from home or the office. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. This review will focus on the consumer aspect of the product, but there’s an enterprise variant that offers additional features.
Whether you’re the controller user providing help or the target user receiving it, getting up and running is easy. Simply visit https://getrim.app and download the installer. It will automatically install the product and start in target mode. If you’re the person receiving help, all you need to do is type the word or phrase given to you by the person assisting you and the session begins. If you’re the controller, you’ll need to switch to controller mode by selecting the appropriate button on the screen. If you’ve never used RIM before, you’ll need to create an account. This is fairly easy to do. You’ll be asked to provide your email address, phone number, location, and full name. Verification codes will be sent along the way to verify your information, but this process only needs to be done once. If you need to log into other machines in the future, all you need to do is enter your email address and a code sent via SMS.
After you’ve created your account and/or signed in, you’re taken to the controller interface. RIM offers 30 minutes of free service a day for controllers, but if you need additional time, you’ll need to purchase either a day or incident pass. You may also choose one of the monthly or annual subscriptions. Please consult the website for more information on these. The user receiving help doesn’t need to pay anything. If you’re using a free account, you’ll be told how much time you have left for the current day and have the opportunity to open the subscription page.
The controller must provide a keyword to start the session. This can be anything, from a single letter to a complicated phrase. As long as it isn’t being used by another user, the system will accept it. You also have the option to enable voice conversations prior to starting a session, which is useful if you want to talk to the person you’re assisting in real-time. After the controller enters the information on his or her side, RIM will wait for the target to enter the same information. Once this is done, the session will begin.
After a session has started, the controller and target will be able to share access to the target computer. All keyboard and mouse actions will be directed to the target until either the connection is ended by one of the parties or the controller minimizes the session. Audio from the target is heard on the controller side, which allows for all kinds of uses, from playing music to assisting someone with audio software. Mouse input and video output also work, though I never tested or used it as a totally blind user. The clipboard is also shared, so text or files can be easily copied back and forth between the computers. In most cases, the session is extremely responsive, to the point where you may forget you’re controlling a remote computer.
The controller and target have access to the RIM menu, which can be activated by pressing the Windows, Shift, and Backspace keys together. Alternatively, the mouse can accomplish the same task. The target only has the option to end the session, but the controller has many options, including the ability to minimize or end the session, flip the session so the target controls the controller’s computer, start or stop voice chat, enable the Remote Accessibility feature, request unattended access, and more. The Remote Accessibility feature is possibly the most exciting aspect of the product, as it allows a blind or low vision technician using the NVDA screen reader to control another computer, even if there’s no screen reader running. It does this by running a temporary copy of NVDA on the target that’s configured to run silently and send all its information to the controller via an NVDA add-on. This opens all kinds of possibilities for helping sighted users, and best of all, the technician doesn’t have to disclose he or she is blind.
RIM allows you to configure computers so they can be accessed remotely without any intervention from anyone at the machine itself. As you can imagine, this has all kinds of uses, from controlling your own computers inside your house or office when you’re away, to accessing servers for your job as a system administrator. Combined with the Remote Accessibility module, this means you can access systems that don’t have sound support, provided you get someone to assist you with the initial installation.
There are several ways to configure unattended access. If you’re in a session, you can request it from the target user. You must wait for your request to be accepted or denied. If accepted, there will be a new option on the controller screen to select a target machine. As long as the target you wish to control is online, you can go into this list, select the machine, and you’re immediately connected. It’s also possible to configure a target for unattended access from the receive help screen or via a custom installer that will simultaneously install the product and enable the necessary access. The controller or target can revoke the access at any time, and there are also options to rename the target and/or create desktop shortcuts. The shortcuts can be quite useful, as you can simply find the computer you want and automatically connect by activating the shortcut. Additionally, you can assign global shortcut keys so you could for example access a few machines by pressing Control, Alt, and number keys.
Remote Incident Manager is a fantastic tool with all sorts of uses. Its inclusive nature makes it unique from essentially every other remote solution which is either not at all usable by a blind person, has significant usability issues, or is restricted to a specific program such as screen reader specific solutions. Pneuma Solutions should be commended for doing what no one else has done thus far! Building products that are accessible to everyone, regardless of disability is something we should always try to strive for in order to make the world a better place. Hopefully we can convince the mainstream market to adopt this, because it would be a massive gamechanger! I’m certain this product will bring joy and productivity to many people for many years to come!
Speaking for myself, I nearly cried the first time I used it. I’ve always wanted a fully accessible remote tool, whether it’s for my own personal use, assisting friends and/or relatives, or best of all, to participate in the world of remote work just like everyone else! Before RIM, I thought this was an impossible goal, but now, it can be a reality! Every day, I’m amazed I’m living in the current era of information and access. The ability to control another computer as if you’re sitting in front of it, no matter where it may be physically located still amazes me and most likely will continue to do so for the rest of my life! With RIM, I no longer have to wonder if I can remotely access another Windows system with independence and confidence. I hope this is just the start of more exciting things to come. Imagine being able to control your home computer from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device with nothing but a keyboard! You could leave your computer at home and still have access to the power and convenience of a desktop system like Windows from the tiny form factor of a mobile device. We live in very exciting times, and it’s only getting better!
Having said that, there are a couple issues with RIM in its current state that would be easy to fix. The first is the inability to use the personal subscriptions for general remote sessions. Currently, it appears they can only be used to configure unattended targets which may be fine in some situations, though it would be nice to have the ability to start regular sessions as well. The other issue is more of a user preference. Currently, it’s not possible to mute remote audio when controlling your own computer. This would be a nice toggle that would allow the controller to quickly do something on his or her computer while avoiding distractions from the target machine. These are minor issues that don’t take away from the amazing work that’s been done! At the time of writing, the product has just been released, so it can only get better as time marches on. For more information not covered here, please consult the website and manual, which should answer any additional questions you may have. Give RIM a try, you won’t regret it!
– Christopher Wright
Remote Incident Manager (RIM) is a fully accessible remote desktop product for technical support, training, or simply helping friends and family with their computers. Read all about Remote Incident Manager (RIM).