How Technology Enables Work From Home During COVID-19
COVID-19 or the coronavirus will leave a lasting mark on history as the global economy stays home to practice social distancing. Large enterprises such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook are requiring employees to work from home along with many small businesses and local governments. The pandemic is testing many business continuity plans as employees strive to remain productive while working primarily from home. In fact, the change in behavior due to mass lockdown has even caused the European Union to request that Netflix temporarily reduce streaming quality throughout Europe. With many more people streaming Netflix throughout the day as they stay at home, internet bandwidth utilization in Europe has spiked. Throttling Netflix is expected to reduce the overall internet load by 25%.
The world is at a unique point in history to handle the stay-at-home effects of the outbreak. Many of the technological advances that allow us to seamlessly work from home or anywhere with an internet connection were not feasible just a few years ago. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest shifts in technology that will keep the world productive during this time.
1. Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud
Software as a Service (SaaS) and the cloud overall have revolutionized how we work, communicate and access data. Players such as Salesforce.com, NetSuite, Microsoft and Google through their subscription productivity suites have completely changed our expectations of software. We no longer give any thought to how we will access business tools and information. We simply open a web browser, log in and continue working just as we would from the office.
2. Internet Accessibility
For over 15 years Pew Research has tracked America’s internet access and utilization and today 90% of Americans use the internet and 73% of American homes have broadband. Only 10 years ago fewer than half of the U.S. had access to high-speed internet.
Along with living in broadband-connected homes, we also have greater access to wireless networks including 4G, 5G and WiFi providing uninterrupted internet access in nearly any urban and even most rural settings.
3. Video Conferencing and Online Meetings
One of the hottest initial public offerings (IPO) of the past year has been Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM). Their stock price has reaped the benefit recently from the stay-at-home movement as it has gained nearly 300% in 11 months. Through their Phone and Chat apps, Zoom strives to offer a streamlined user experience and modernize employee interactions improving collaboration. Whether you are using Zoom, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, or even just Skype, these tools offer an incredible ability to continue meeting and remain productive while practicing social distancing. In many cases, meetings through these tools can be even more productive based on the current feature sets.
4. Workplace Communications
Even when we are all working in the same office, many of us are wired-in with AirPods drowning out any noise and communicating with co-workers 5 feet from us or around the world through workplace communications tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. These platforms provide a single source for messaging, tools and files along with enterprise access controls making them an essential part of any workday for many organizations.
5. Network and Device Security
Unfortunately, hacking attempts, phishing, data manipulation and ransomware incidents are on the rise. However, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in cybersecurity are reinventing the field. Integrations between security hardware manufacturers and antivirus providers are providing critical progression in advanced endpoint protection and threat hunting. Working from home creates many new security issues. These advancements in security leveraging AI and ML are allowing security teams to protect the enterprise user even in remote environments.