The Managing Director, Rack Centre, Ayotunde Coker has admonished Nigerians on its preparation for Post COVID 19.
While highlighting that new norm will emerge after the pandemic must have been over, the Rack Centre boss noted that the period will experience more digital inclusiveness.
According to him, activities would shift towards online and internet traffic would grow, with many people working from home, once they are connected to broadband Internet.
“During the post-COVID-19 era, semi-flex office staff location will spring up, where new offices will be created close to workers’ residences, which will see them travel only few kilometres to access the place, and work from there as a virtual team, while connecting to the office.
The Rack Centre boss equally said that virtual edutech will spring up, where students will be studying from their homes and getting connected to the school remotely through connected devices like laptops, iPads and mobile phones among many others.
In a webinar interaction with journalists in Lagos, Coker said COVID 19 has opened Nigerians eye to the crucial role technology play in business operations as well as driving the economy at large.
In his words, “there is now an increased dependence on technology. We now have business communications and people hosting webinars. It is really amazing how technology is changing some of these expectations. The other key thing that this pandemic has also shown, is the importance of business continuity plans. This has shown that some organisations that have their own data centres and servers in the house are finding it difficult t operate or just cannot operate at this time because all of their servers are down or now, they’re thinking of business continuity of the infrastructure they have rather than thinking of the business continuity of the market they serve and having the agility to change and restructure their businesses to the new normal.”
Giving more details on the way technology infrastructure is enabling changes in business as a result of the pandemic, Coker sited that Microsoft Teams had 32 million active users before the lockdown, but is now recording 900 million meetings daily, while Zoom which had 10 million daily users before COVID-19, is now seeing 200 million daily active users.
“Internet usage has really gone through the roof. Another amazing thing is the elasticity of the global network that has actually been able to sustain the significant increase in the use of social media, moving pictures, an increased amount of business use – a newfound place for the use of technology. All of this is actually underpinned by a global infrastructure. In the middle of this global infrastructure is the world of connectivity,” he said.
With the new normal, people are now starting to know the importance of reliable data services that have low latency and high performance. Different aspects of technology and innovation have to be combined to foster the new normal, post-Covid-19 era, and so broadband and the underpinning infrastructures that support broadband including data centres are key.
Coker said the world becomes digitally connected on the information super-highway, which will see data centre and cloud technologies move to the edge.
He however advised government and organisations to prepare for the era that would bring about a new norm in governance and organisational operations. He stressed that companies must step up by adding connectivity capacities to scale up their infrastructure build out.
The Rack Centre boss said there must be huge investment in infrastructure including power, roads, technology, among others to meet the demands that will spring up from the pandemic fallout.
Preparations from Coker’s point of view, include that government quickly device means to transmit the broadband capacities at the shores of the country to the hinterlands to enable more Nigerians have access to ubiquitous broadband in readiness for the technology innovations in the post-COVID-19 era.
While urging Federal Government to speed up the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020 -2025, the Rack Centre boss said collaboration among fibre optic cable system providers on one hand and between fiber optic cable providers and satellite providers on the other hand, in order to drive tech innovations in post-COVID-19 era.
In Nigeria, Coker suggests that we optimise to areas where we have commerce and key hubs and innovate on technologies that will allow us satellite technologies, as we are now starting to have low-level orbit satellite technology coming in to reduce latency.
“In certain instances, having a level of broadband is good enough as a starting point, but good enough is not always the best when we go forward that’s why I believe that given what we see now, we really have an opportunity to innovate a lot more in how we get broadband out into the rural areas and not just Lagos and Abuja,” he said.
The technology infrastructure in any economy is dependent on data centres. Technology connects business to business, or to a data centre or tower somewhere and this is interconnected for the underpinning infrastructure.
“In Rack Centre, we have been making Nigeria the centre of digital infrastructure in Africa, and one of the leading anchors points now over the six years we have been operating in Africa for digital infrastructure. So we are really putting Nigeria on the map of how we integrate and deliver digital infrastructure at world-class into Nigeria and West Africa,” Coker said.