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CPaaS, Voice

Coronavirus causes APAC surge in conferencing and cloud comms, Europe following suit


March 5, 2020


April 4, 2023


COVID-19 is proving a global litmus test of the effectiveness of the cloud to provide alternative real-time communications solutions to face-to-face and legacy comms.

Coronavirus is causing a sharp upturn in demand for cloud communications as businesses choose to mitigate the risks of traveling to or for work by encouraging their employees to use conferencing platforms instead.

In the APAC region, where the global pandemic that has thrown the world into ‘uncharted territory‘ first took hold, we’ve seen a more than 2x increase in the number of conferencing minutes being passed through the our network.

Major conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Cisco WebEx, and Google Hangouts are already leveraging this trend by offering usually premium features for free, in a bid to onboard more new customers.

We now anticipate a similar-if-not-greater surge in European traffic, again driven by the growing corporate demand for virtual conferencing sessions, as well as the influx of calls into the contact centers of travel and tourism companies, as flights are grounded, events are canceled and movement restricted.

That’s why we’re urging all our customers and anyone with voice at the heart of their business continuity plans to reach out to us and discuss their capacity requirements in Europe as a result of COVID-19.

Bandwidth’s global coverage includes the region’s largest markets – including China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. So our network data provides an accurate snapshot of the impact the COVID-19 virus is having on cloud communications in the region.

The size of the (temporary) global remote workforce is rising exponentially day on day. And we expect the rapidly increasing levels of traffic coming from conferencing platforms and contact centers for travel and tourism companies among others to continue growing in Asia and Europe, as well as the Americas.

In the five weeks from 27 January and 1 March, the total volume of APAC traffic on the network doubled. The steepest increase came in the week of February 3-9, right after the World Health Organization declared a state of global emergency. We expect to see a similar-if-not-greater rise in Europe based on our early analysis.

Europe showing signs of following suit

We’re already seeing evidence of mainland Europe following suit. Across the biggest EU markets (Germany, France, Italy, Spain) and the UK, total call traffic on our network has increased over the past two weeks, and this weekly growth is accelerating. The week of March 2nd to 8th saw an increase of more than 10% over the previous 7-day period.

Let’s look at Italy, which remains Europe’s most affected market. On February 23rd, Italy saw the number of confirmed cases rise to 150, with the Lombardy region bearing the brunt of the impact. By February 28th, this had risen to 800 cases.

The government’s response was to place a quarantine over a quarter of the country over the weekend (which included Milan, Italy’s business hub), before extending these emergency measures to the entire country this week. Over the past three weeks in which the virus has taken hold in Italy, we’ve seen daily call traffic in the country rise by as much as 75%.

Based on what we have seen in APAC and Italy we expect this rise to only continue across Europe as more governments enforce lockdowns (schools in Madrid have just been closed for two weeks) and employees are advised to work from home.

But rather than panic, now is the time for businesses to plan carefully. To ensure not only that they have the capacity required for their own business continuity plans and those of their customers if they provide a voice service, but also to ensure that businesses can play their part in slowing down the spread of the virus by allowing flexible and remote work of employees.

Working with the right provider during difficult times

At Bandwidth we’ve built an enterprise-grade solution designed to never be interrupted. In the immediate and short-term, this is possible thanks to the reliability of our fully redundant global voice backbone, our exhaustive network monitoring, and the careful capacity forecasting that our dedicated teams conduct. In the longer term, it’s thanks to our full compliance with all regulations in the markets we operate, not to mention our close relationships with regulators and other carriers in these markets.

We’re confident that no-one else offers the same degree of reliability — over the course of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years — on a global scale as we do. And on top of that, we have the most comprehensive cloud-native PSTN replacement solution on the market — available in 33 countries including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia — meaning our global coverage goes deeper than anyone else.

All with one provider, one contract, one invoice, and one simple to use platform, where you can take advantage of our suite of management tools and APIs to ensure your global voice operations run as smoothly as possible and your critical business teams in telecoms, product, development, legal and finance are freed up to spend their time making your services better for your customers.