A California company that makes smart thermostats is teaming with a
tech outsourcing company to create about 140 technical support and customer
service jobs in Austin.
Nest Labs Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., is working with Spot BPO of Austin to expand technical and customer support operations here on behalf of Next Labs' products.
The call center, which started operations Tuesday is expected to expand to 140 people by the end of this year.
Nest Labs, which makes a smart thermostat that it says can reduce home heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent, is the first major client of the call center, which is at 6800 Burleson Road in the Bergstrom Technology Center in Southeast Austin.
Both Nest Labs and Spot BPO considered other locations, but chose Austin because of its deep pool of talent, many of whom have worked in call centers before.
"Spot BPO is thrilled to provide customers with top-tier service and support from the technology hub of Texas," said Alton Martin, c0-founder and principal of Spot BPO. Many of the workers at the center have experience working at other call centers in the area. Martin estimates the greater Austin area has as many as 30,000 call center jobs. The call center will operate 16 hours a day and serve customers in the U.S. and Canada.
"People here like to work on cool stuff," Martin said. "Nest has a green product and it is a green company helping people save money and save electricity."
The tech support center is a must, he said, because most of Nest Labs' customers install their own thermostats and some of them need technical assistance.
Martin said his company expects to attract other clients over time in addition to Nest Labs.
The call center pays workers between $14 and $17 an hour, he said.
The 27,000-square-foot call center required three and a half miles of cabling to set up.
This a great win for our community on many levels," said Gary Farmer, chairman of Opportunity Austin, which is the economic development affiliate of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber, Opportunity Austin and the Pike Powers Laboratory & Center for Commercialization all assisted with the business expansion in Austin. There were no government tax incentives involved in the deal.
The Pike Powers Lab is a smart-grid research center that is part of the Pecan Street Research Consortium.
(c)2013 Austin American-Statesman, Texas
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