Ken Hood spent seven years in Silicon Valley and held high-level management positions at companies including 3Com. A trend became increasingly apparent to him: The number of consumer electronics in the average home that required an Internet connection was growing, but direct support from service providers wasn't keeping up. So, in 2005, he set out on his own and started ClearAccess to assist broadband service providers, including telcos and cable operators, with customer and device management. ClearAccess gives the provider a control panel on which it can see all the devices connected to a customer's gateway. That makes it easier to identify where the problem is occurring and offer remote support.