I started working entirely from home over a week ago, preempting the majority of small companies and other organizations as they started to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

All is going well here, and work is proceeding. To some extent.

What is not really working so smoothly with our business associates is that we are still using the cell phone, or office phone for conference calls. We are still using our cell phones for conference calls. Our groups have not been (yet!) able to migrate to a video conferencing system. Some of our lot are tied up with the IT policies of their organization, others are simply not adopting new technologies.

working from home
a small home office

After encouraging several groups to move to a better platform I finally had my first conference call a week agp using Zoom. Another call will soon be held using Microsoft Team. The difference between those two are that Zoom limits group calls to 40 minutes. And Microsoft Team seems to require a corporate account for the call initiator. In both cases there is no cost to myself. These video calls are still in the minority, the plain old cell-phone calls continue for conferencing!

The other side of the coin is that with many organizations sending their people home and allowing them to work from home has created some challenges with the Telco’s. Calls are being dropped or callers are not able to get to their conference lines. Elsewhere due presumably to the fiber in the ground, the networks are able to meet demand and span great distances without any challenges.

While my colleagues are a bit slow to getting online, there has been seen 300% growth in teleconferencing apps in the US (e.g., Zoom, Skype ). No doubt that Canada is in this range as well. And while the adults are teleconferencing, the kids are home now too and their interest in gaming has caused a 400% growth in gaming. This latter item is more demanding of bandwidth!

Europe is in the middle of some challenges as well in this period. In their case the EU officials have appealed to streaming services, such as Netflix and others to move to lower definition video products so as to sustain their national internet connections in the duration of this crisis.

Photo by Mateo Vrbnjak on Unsplash