Dusseldorf, San Francisco Since Anton Döschl has been working in the technology sector, he has experienced a number of special situations, such as the CeBIT at their weddings or the financial crisis in 2008. The past few weeks have been “probably the most intense” in his career, says the manager. He is responsible for the IT group Cisco Sales and advice on communication and collaboration solutions, including the Webex system. And that is in demand more than ever.
Because public life is severely restricted by the coronavirus epidemic, companies send their employees to their home offices and connect them with video conferences and virtual meetings. Authorities, medical practices and schools are also dealing with the technology. Many of them contact Döschl and his team. “The number of strokes has increased enormously.”
While work is breaking out in large parts of the economy, tech companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Zoom and Teamviewer, which offer systems for virtual collaboration, are experiencing a special boom. The situation is similar with network operators like that Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone or Telefónica. Worries about a bottleneck or failures make the round.
In a conversation with the Handelsblatt a few days ago, Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges gave the all-clear: “Our network runs completely smoothly without a single major failure.” Telekom had to upgrade in some places and the fixed network in particular was in demand again.
The head of Telekom, on the other hand, saw difficulties elsewhere: “There are some services, such as video conference providers, that are reaching their limits in terms of their capacities. Sometimes it’s the capacity of corporate networks. But it’s not because of the telecommunications networks. “
While the mobile and broadband networks have so far been able to withstand the rush, there are difficulties in their places. Technicians have to upgrade the data centers regularly, the sales representatives handle the mass of inquiries.
Sometimes the systems reach their limits. Even social media like Facebook and Twitter have been in demand for a long time. The corona crisis is a technical test – but when it pays off economically is open.
Video conferencing is becoming the norm
Webex is a platform through which users can chat, hold video conferences and edit documents, much like teams from Microsoft or Zoom from the US company of the same name. Many customers are currently working on the introduction of such solutions. “They are faced with the massive challenge of getting the employees into their home office,” says Döschl, who is currently having all the conversations himself from his home office.
If necessary, video conferences are also used in politics, education and healthcare. Chancellor Angela Merkel last reported from quarantine. A university in Rome switched the lectures to distance learning for 4800 students within 48 hours. Yoga and guitar teachers can also continue teaching. And even doctors and clinics are trying out the technology.
The data traffic is growing enormously. At the De-Cix Internet hub in Frankfurt, the volume increased by ten percent within a week, and the number of video conferences even doubled during this period.
The operating company emphasizes that the core network is designed for this – as soon as a certain threshold is reached, it increases capacity. However, there may be delays for individual users.
The rush is so big that even technology giants like Microsoft or Google Book failures. Of all things, the collaboration and communication service Microsoft Teams had to struggle with greater difficulties on the first day of the numerous school closings in Germany. Other providers of video and telephone conferences have had to admit technical problems time and again.