The Coronavirus has drastically changed our lives and the way we work. What operators’ marketing strategies were not capable of fully obtaining for years the Coronavirus pandemic is now quickly achieving: The communications services we all depend on have gone from being considered a commodity often taken for granted, to become a highly valued service.
Despite the efforts made by operators in recent times to add more value to their proposals, the telecommunications services have evolved into a commodity. Operators have not been able to convey their value to their customers who by taking it for granted, as something that would just be provided, have focused only on their own pockets: The price they have to pay for the services. But this reality has drastically changed in recent weeks. What operators’ marketing strategies were unable to obtain for years, the Coronavirus is now quickly achieving.
Many companies have already been working intensively with going remote. That is, ensuring that work stations were no longer linked to specific locations, whether these were certain premises or a specific place within these. This process has required the provision of devices with the right connectivity for the employees to carry out their activity correctly. Also, efforts have been made to guarantee the systems security and protection of each user’s identity, in order to prevent impersonations.
This early phase of companies going remote and employees working from home, which took place prior to the proclamation of the State of Alarm (in Spain, editor’s note), demonstrated that the technological infrastructure was capable of providing efficient communications and that it was prepared to face the growth in telework. In general, it can be said that the telecommunications sector has dealt with this challenge in an outstanding way.
With the advent of the health crisis, the implementation of the “work from home” model has been massive. However, the urgency in this shift made a widespread use of teleworking technologies and tools impossible. In reality, what is happening is something quite different, which is enabling remote management of workers’ fixed workstations. Something that operating systems already today cater for through the IT support departments’ ability to remotely control systems and to diagnose potential problems off-site. This same approach is now being used to remotely manage fixed workstations, which is not as effective as the truly distributed work model. In addition, it is much more demanding when it comes to the connectivity required.
In this situation, telecommunications are affected. Not so much in terms of bandwidth, but in terms of the response time. Operators have had no other choice but to appeal to the population that it should make a rational use of the networks. Even the (Spanish, editor’s note) Government included an article related to this in the Royal Decree that announced the State of Alarm in the country. And the end users, somewhat surprised, have begun to truly understand the value of having access to high quality communications.
I am convinced that this new view of communications services as a value in their own, which has come with the extraordinary demands in this crisis, will remain over time. Furthermore, it will serve to promote the renewal of networks, the modernisation of their deployments associated with the telco cloud, the dynamic deployment of additional capacity, the automation of operations, and the implementation of additionally required security elements. More importantly, its real value will finally be clearly perceived by both companies and end users.
This emergency could also turn out to be a great opportunity for driving the adoption of new paradigms in our organisations, where traditional jobs disappear and leave room for workspaces created for social interaction, knowledge sharing and the stimulation of creativity. Surely, these new models will also prove more effective in achieving a higher degree of employee satisfaction and fulfilment and, as a result greater value generation.
This article was first publised in Spanish in ComunicacionesHoy on April 1, 2020: La oportunidad del COVID-19 para las telecomunicaciones.