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In the midst of the pandemic, an appreciation for the part technology is playing

As our team of nearly 5 million New Zealanders returned to a life of lockdown and restrictions on the 17th of August, how we work, and balance home life shifted back to a not so unfamiliar territory.

As the pandemic hit our shores in 2020, with not much notice, a vast majority of businesses were forced to adopt working from home as a driver for business continuity and resilience. With hundreds of thousands of people working from home, this was a huge shock to the system for IT teams. Technology only previously used 10% to 20% of the time is now at 90% or 100% – no one was ready for that volume.

A record number of PC’s and notebooks were sold last year with 826,000 devices shipped as employers, small businesses and government departments set out to ensure their work force had the required equipment to facilitate working from home. We saw in a short period, a massive transformation in the use of technology, that, under normal circumstances, would have taken place over years, not days.

Microsoft teams usage jumped to 145 million daily active users and Zoom was downloaded 17,190,100 times between February and March 2020. The surge of users pushed these application to their limits, exposed some of their weaknesses and security flaws, and forced them to evolve in order to satisfy usage scenarios no one could have foreseen during their initial design.

Start-up Monday.com, a Work Operating System that powers teams to run projects and workflows grew its revenue from $78.1 million to $161.1 million as businesses sought a solution for remote collaboration and project management.

Scaling amidst a global pandemic meant the start-up pivoted and accelerated the development of their software to suit the demand from organisations to become more than a workflow tool but a tool that could be utilised as a CRM, ad campaign management tool and a video production tool to name a few of it’s added capabilities. Integrating with Microsoft Office, G-Suite, Hubspot etc. With over 100,000 new teams across 216 industries it became an integral piece of software that enabled organisations to manage teams effectively, and empowered employees to participate.

Remote learning technology platform Seesaw tripled in revenue and employed 100 new contractors as a remote customer support team to keep up with the demand of schools and parents to home school, Google classroom enabled teachers to deliver their daily lessons and allowed for interactions between students creating a space where children still have access to education and a sense of normality.

The TCF, published its 2020 Industry Report The report says that during the lockdown, digital activity surged as business operations moved from the office to the home, and education shifted from the classroom to the living room. Daytime broadband traffic jumped by as much as 85%, while traditional voice calling was up 70%. It was a significant test for the telecommunications sector, and collectively the industry stepped up to meet unprecedented levels of demand. The importance of what the industry does gave new meaning to the phrase “essential services” and cemented widespread recognition that telecommunications is vital to the nations wellbeing.

Given the rapid advancements the technology industry had to implement to accommodate our new “norm”, technology (along with human intention) has emerged as a winner to ensure that people are connected and that “locked down” may well be for physical structures including offices but not necessarily for education and work because of the positive impact it’s having on professional and personal lives during the crisis.

The pandemic confirmed just how important technology, IT and telecommunications industries are in a modern world. Technology is playing a vital role in helping businesses operate, manage, and survive through one of the most economically devastating events New Zealand has experienced.

Without the tech advancements we have at our fingertips, had this happened 20 years ago, office workers in a lockdown two decades ago would have been restricted to working on tasks that did not rely on anything more sophisticated than email. The end result? Quarantine would have been so economically damaging as to be unimaginable.

Read: What is a Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plan and why your business needs one?

Mariette Tolmay
Mariette Tolmay is the marketing lead at Stratus Blue. She can be contacted at mariette@stratusblue.co.nz.

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