An interesting thing has been happening with Australian internet usage since the lockdowns of the pandemic ended, described as a “new normal”.
At the Light Reading Next-Gen Broadband APAC event held this week, representatives from several telecommunications companies noted higher upstream traffic is persisting to some degree, even as downstream returns to what it was previously.
This is a result of a number of Australians still working from home who hadn’t prior to the pandemic and the explosion in popularity of applications such as videoconferencing.
With regard to the former, no doubt the situation caused by the pandemic has revealed some workers can operate from home quite effectively and this will remain an ongoing arrangement – for some, it may also be their preferred way to work.
As for videoconferencing, many people are resistant to trying a “new” technology until they have to. But after having done so, they often embrace it and it becomes a normal part of their work – and even language.
The Macmillan Dictionary’s final buzzword of 2020 was “zoom”, referring to the video conferencing service that many people wouldn’t have even heard of prior to early 2020. In June last year, Zoom reported 300 million daily meeting participants joining Zoom meetings in April 2020, up from 10 million in December 2019.
A survey carried out by the University of Sydney Business School’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) last year revealed more Australians want to work from home an average of two days per week after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The evidence reinforces the fact that as we move through and beyond the COVID-19 period, we can expect commuting activity to decline by an average of 25 to 30 percent as both employers and employees see value in a work from home plan,” said founding director of ITLS, Professor David Hensher.
Something worth watching for are statistics to be released this month from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as part of its seventh cycle of the monthly Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey that will be covering work from home arrangements.