It shouldn’t startle anyone at this point that mobile device usage has spiked along with the numbers of people who began working from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Video and Teleconferencing are Driving Data Usage Up Dramatically
Unsurprisingly, since large-scale work from home initiatives began, network carriers have seen dramatic growth in data usage owing to increased usage of VPNs, video, web traffic, and data downloads. Verizon frequently updates its Network Report with statistics and analysis, and in its April 9 update noted that video data traffic had increased 36% from what would have been consumed on a typical pre-COVID-19 day -- and that VPN data consumption had similarly increased by 49% over pre-COVID-19 levels.
In large part, of course, these increases are driven by the number of videoconference meetings in which all of the newly-remote workers are participating, and the amount of data that’s consumed over the course of these meetings. Microsoft Teams meetings can consume up to 675MB of data per hour, for example, and they’re on the low end: Zoom can use up to 2.4GB per hour -- and Skype up to 3.6GB per hour.
But it’s not just video meetings that are driving the increased consumption of data. Voice traffic, which had been in decline prior to COVID-19, has also increased, again according to Verizon. Further, workers consuming data for personal use during the workday may also have increased from its pre-COVID-19 level of one hour of personal use per workday -- and although most of that personal use will actually be on personal devices, at least some portion of it will doubtless be on company-issued devices.
Increased Data Usage Means Increased Data Costs
All of which points up, in various ways, the importance of managed mobility to business. When many budgets were set at the end of 2019, for example, no business was anticipating that data usage would be increasing by double digits; nor were they anticipating that cellular voice traffic would increase as literally all employees began calling into meeting conference calls. These unanticipated costs have been just another of the economic calamities that have befallen many companies owing to the coronavirus -- but they are costs that not only must be, but also fortunately can be, managed.
For businesses paying for data usage on company-issued devices, for example, managed mobility services like making sure all wireless rate plans are optimized can potentially save millions of dollars very quickly -- like this healthcare company did when we optimized their rate plans and consolidated their billing accounts from more than 100 down to just 3.
Beyond that, though, appropriate business mobility policies coupled with in-depth analytics can further serve to keep costs low. Having clear policies in place will help employees know exactly what the rules and expectations are when it comes to the use of company mobile devices -- and per-line usage analytics will show employers which of their lines are seeing data usage that’s out of line with those expectations, and thus provide management with the opportunity to correct any potentially costly situations.
Managed Mobility Services Ease the Pain
We have been helping companies get their mobile data expenses under control since long before COVID-19 -- and we can help your company, too. If you'd like to see for yourself how Wireless Watchdogs can get you on the road to mobility efficiency and cost-effectiveness, even (or especially) during times of high data usage, feel free to request a demo right here: