Across the UK connectivity has increased by over 30% since lockdown began, as more people than ever depend on broadband and communication technology to stay connected during these challenging times. Overall, average broadband has risen by a third to 41 hours a week, as we spend more time at home and move our work and social life online.
Here at Wi-Manx, we’re no exception to this trend, having seen a 15% increase in Island broadband traffic since lockdown was announced. With this in mind, we thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at the stats to see how our online habits have changed during lockdown and what all this could mean for life after COVID-19.
We’ve seen a significant uptake in remote working solutions during the lockdown period, as businesses across the Island shut their doors in the fight against COVID-19 and organisations do their best to operate ‘business as usual’ with remote workings solutions in place. We’ve been able to rapidly deploy home working solutions to local Manx businesses, installing hosted desktop and hosted PBX solutions so businesses can continue operating from home. Our stats reflect a massive 967% increase in Microsoft Remote Desktop usage as Manx businesses transition from office life to home life whilst accessing their important applications and files.
We’ve also noted an increase in demand for Microsoft Teams, as businesses are keen to encourage effective collaboration between remote working employees. Indeed, Microsoft reports that its collaborative platform Teams now has over 75 million global users, an increase in 31 million users since March.
During this time, video call usage has also skyrocketed UK-wide as businesses, friends and families connect virtually on platforms such as Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts. 68% of people report using a video calling platform during lockdown, an overall increase of 50%, to stay in touch both professionally and personally whilst practising social distancing.
Although some businesses were slowly moving towards more flexible ways of working before the pandemic hit, this rapid transition has shown those more reluctant companies the potential benefits of effective home working. While some employers are nervous about the productivity of remote working , our stats show that, although Google searches have risen by 40% across the Island during lockdown (and these could be work related), Facebook usage is down by 12%, suggesting there’s no correlation between remote working and increased social media usage.
In fact, studies have shown that remote workers are actually more productive than their office-based counterparts, putting more hours into their working day and taking less time off work. The lockdown has been the perfect opportunity for businesses to assess just how viable and productive home working is. While remote working may have increased due to necessity, it is predicted that this trend is likely to stay around long after the virus has gone.
It’ll come as no surprise that Netflix traffic across the Island is up by 20% alone. As much as we’d like to think this is due to the release of Netflix’s whacky documentary Tiger King, with both children and adults spending more time than ever at home, this is likely an easy and cost-effective entertainment solution. We’ve also noted that streaming habits have shifted by roughly an hour and a half in the evening, with peak time now closer to 10pm than 9pm.
Video gaming has also seen a UK-wide increase of 27% since lockdown was announced. New game releases such as Animal Crossing and Call of Duty: Warzone allow players to ‘meet up’ online, suggesting that video games are not only a way to pass time during lockdown but also have an important social function for people social distancing from family and friends.
Video chatting platforms have also experienced a global boom as friends and family now meet up online rather than in person. Zoom, for example, has grown exponentially during lockdown, increasing from 10 million users in December to 200 million by the end of April. Houseparty, a multi-party video calling app that integrates games, has also become a household name during lockdown, first amongst younger people and then amongst families.
As for online shopping, Uswitch data suggests there’s been a 9% increase across the UK since the start of lockdown, with all non-essential stores closed for the foreseeable future. With vulnerable people advised to self-isolate and avoid crowded supermarkets, online Grocery shopping has also seen an increase of 14%, with food retailers creating more delivery slots to keep up with demand.
The spike in internet usage means providers like us need to keep on our toes; a decent internet connection has never been more important to people’s professional and personal lives, or indeed to the Island’s economy. Despite the increase in internet usage, we’re confident that we’re more than capable of meeting the Island’s broadband needs, with our high capacity and resilient network ready to keep up with changing demands. Having successfully implemented our own business contingency plan, our engineers and support staff have been able to continue supplying Manx businesses with all the tools they need for remote working.
For more information on how Wi-Manx can keep you and your business connected during lockdown, give us a call on 663333 or email us at email@example.com