As people around the world are currently homebound, networks have taken on a whole new level of importance. People now more than ever need to connect virtually, and businesses need to continue to operate and perform.
Where technology in some ways distanced us before, it is now bringing us together: Friends and families are video conferencing for virtual Get-Togethers, Happy Hours, Coffee Breaks and Game Nights. Pope Francis live streamed from his home last week, as did other churches, temples and mosques.
Businesses are hosting frequent live webcasts and video calling sessions to keep work human, and schools are creating virtual classrooms to keep students up to speed.
I am amazed at how communications and digital technologies are fostering the type of “distanced socializing” that can make “social distancing” more bearable, and more doable in a time where we must resist our human instinct to be physically close.
And so, I thought I’d take this moment to acknowledge what Communications Service Providers such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Telefonica, as well as the small and mid-sized operators across the world are doing to help ensure communications infrastructure holds up under the surge in messaging and voice calling on mobile networks, not to mention explosions in gaming and VPNs.
Operators around the world have vowed to help residential and small- and medium-sized businesses with free hot spots and in several cases are waiving late fees and service terminations.
One of Europe’s hardest hit countries launched a Digital Solidarity Campaign where operators, companies and associations are signing up to offer pro bono services. In the United States, operators have made a collective pledge to “Keep Americans Connected.” They are actively moving capacity, monitoring networks and changing traffic patterns to ensure critical applications perform, especially when it comes to health care and first-responder requirements for ever-more access and data. The same is true around the globe, as Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Vodafone and Chinese operators continue to boost network performance where it is needed the most.
These efforts to keep the world connected, and to empower businesses large and small, are helping us remain united and productive in what would otherwise be nearly unbearable circumstances. I’m impressed and humbled by how all the Operators and Enterprises around the world have come together and risen to the challenge in very short order.