Games should boost cloud and video conferencing

The Olympic Games has put a strain on the transport system but as remote working increases so should the interest in cloud and video conferencing

The Olympic games should give a boost to remote working solutions, ranging from the cloud through the video conferencing, as workers avoid going into central London.

With the first major test of the transport system this morning going relatively smoothly the message about the need for more home working during the games appears to have got through.

Certain stations, including the popular City worker stop London Bridge, came with warnings of severe disruption and resellers are being urged to pitch the remote working message at this timely moment.

“The demand for cloud computing is currently witnessing a rise, because businesses, big and small, will be requiring easy access to round-the-clock high speed and secure communications to ensure continuity in business operations during the games," said Chris Papa, managing director at Qubic.

But he said that there were many benefits that would be on offer long after the games had finished and remote working could provide staff with a better work life balance.

“Cloud computing technology has empowered employers and businesses to equip their staff with all the tools they need to do their jobs effectively outside of an office environment. Also, work-from-home makes good business sense as employers offering flexible working find a reduced rate of absenteeism and improved staff retention," he added.

As well as the cloud seeing a rise there is also expected to be an increase in video conferencing with Tom Kelly, managing director of Logicalis, using the firm's blog to point out that the games will have a positive impact on Telepresence technology.

"Shouldn’t the solutions businesses have put in place to overcome disruption during the Olympics Games also provide a beneficial legacy long after the tourists have left and the celebrations fade? Investing in video need not be a short-term fix – and organisations that have not simply exploited video to alleviate three weeks of transport disruption will see long-term benefits across their entire business ecosystem," he wrote.

"Used in the correct way technology can enable a more agile business and when used with real strategic intent, the smart application of technology can have major impacts on the way a business works," he added.

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The 2012 Olympic Games has brought flexible working into sharp focus for London-based businesses, with employers having to ensure that staff are able to work from home during the Olympics to avoid traffic congestion, whilst still ensuring that employees are able to retain productivity. However, the Olympics is a one-off event spanning a three-week period, so what happens after this?

What’s needed now is for companies to implement flexible working strategies that deliver long-term benefits back to the business and its employees. As the situation stands today, existing web conferencing and collaboration solutions are too restrictive for businesses.

While online videoconferencing services have made versatile video connectivity a real option, they are really designed for ‘communication’ rather than deeper collaboration. For extended business use, conferencing services need to include secure file-sharing and shared whiteboard capabilities that enable organisations to mimic physical meetings to the greatest possible degree.

Web- and video-conferencing tool vendors have long claimed that these scenarios would be possible, but it’s only now that the necessary level of sophistication exists to make it a reality. Real technology progress comes when tool vendors take time to truly understand how users work and the constraints that continue to limit them. Working without boundaries requires more freedom than suppliers have allowed until now, but happily that’s all about to change as the power continues to shift and users succeed in making their voices heard.

Holger Felgner
General Manager