Ten years ago I blogged about how Telecoms and/or Unified Communications could help businesses if bad weather struck. As we all now start to make our disaster recovery plans for coronavirus (COVID-19) it seems to me that the effects on business are very similar.

The scenarios I have in mind are:
– healthy employees unable to travel (due to quarantine, self-isolation, outbreak at destination or lack of flights, etc.)
– healthy employees unable to leave home (due to ill family members, school closures, lack of safe public transport, etc)
– business locations closed due to local outbreaks

In these situations the main things we need to do from a communications perspective are:
– enable home or remote working
– divert inbound calls to workers at other locations including home
– arrange online meetings

Here are some ways in which Unified Communications can help to keep our businesses running. See if I have missed any.
– With IP Messaging you can record a message to play when a location is closed due to inclement weather. Keep it generic or you will need separate ones for snow, floods and the rest.
– With a call management service you manage your entire number estate and all aspects of your inbound calls including diversion
– With SIP you can have staff report to another company location and still log on to ‘their’ phone, even if they are the switchboard operator
– With SIP smartphones and broadband they can do this from home, hotel or airport
– With Unified Messaging you can receive voicemails and faxes in your email at home or on the road
– With Email you can handle mail, calendar, contacts and actions from your smartphone or tablet
– With Mobile VPN you can also access the company intranet from there too
– With Teleconferencing, whether on-premise or in the cloud, you don’t need to travel to physical meetings
– With Web Conferencing you can enhance that experience at low cost
– With Desktop Video Conferencing you can enhance the experience further and you don’t need to travel to a room-based video conference
– With Presence you can quickly see who is online, where they are (office, home, hotel, airport) and whether they are available
– With Instant Messaging you can then communicate quickly, even with mobile smartphone and tablet users
– With Softphones and broadband you can work securely from home, a hotel or airport
– With SIP Proxy and broadband you can even put physical handsets and attendant consoles in homes
– With FindMeFollowMe you can reach employees by phones regardless of location, even while they are travelling

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