The current coronavirus epidemic is having a devastating effect on businesses in China, as well as on international firms with offices, clients or suppliers in the region. Travel bans have been implemented in many areas to prevent the spread of this infectious disease. Employees have been encouraged to work from home and avoid meeting in groups. Risk management teams are making contingency plans to maintain supply chains and meet client commitments.
Remote meeting technology can help employees communicate and collaborate effectively at this time. But communication in China can be challenging. For reasons of national security, the government restricts the use of many remote meetings solutions, including Google. Broadband connections can be poor, particularly in the home. LoopUp’s unique web conferencing platform puts the audio over regular phone lines, providing a reliable solution for conference calls in China.
On 23 January, Chinese authorities introduced travel restrictions for nine cities. This included Wuhan, a city of more than 10 million people where the coronavirus epidemic is believed to have originated. The US and other governments have asked people to avoid nonessential travel to China, and airlines have suspended most flights to China.
Disruption is expected to last for a minimum of 3 months, and will have a material impact on businesses. Daily updates are available from the World Health Organisation here. Concerns about the effect of coronavirus have hit global stock markets, and last week was the worst week for the Dow Jones industrial average since August 2019.
One way that firms can reduce the impact of travel restrictions is with remote meeting technology. Essential meetings can still go ahead remotely and local staff in China can work from home more productively. But most web conferencing solutions rely on VoIP, which is often blocked in China.
Even VoIP solutions that are not blocked can struggle with the limited bandwidth available. At Dezan Shira & Associates, the pan-Asia professional services firm, staff have been advised to work from home and avoid gathering in offices. “There is a slowdown in the transmission of data, because employees have to utilize their apartment internet connections”, reports Adam Livermore, a partner in the Dalian office.
Adam used MS Teams for a conference call with participants in various China locations, including Hubei which is the centre of the epidemic. He commented that “video functionality was weak because of bandwidth issues, (but) audio functionality was sufficient”.
LoopUp’s phone conferencing solution uses regular telephone lines for audio and a weblink for screen share and video. This means that it works in China – every time. That’s why so many multinationals use LoopUp for conference calls in China, including over 20 of the top-100 global law firms.
LoopUp is available in all major languages, including traditional and simplified Chinese. Regional customer support is provided by a team in Hong Kong. LoopUp can be deployed across enterprises in less than 24 hours with no set-up cost, no minimum contract and no user training required. To find out more about how LoopUp can help your business with coronavirus contingency planning, contact one of our specialists.