Data Brings Us Together
In the opening weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, internet usage increased by 30-50% around the world as consumers work, learn and connect from their homes like never before. We’re videoconferencing with doctors as the virus impacts our communities. Our children, over 100 million in America and Europe alone, are gathering in virtual classrooms to study and share. Businesses all over the world are tapping into powerful apps and workplace tools including Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Amazon Chime and Zoom to keep our world’s nations up and running in the face of one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime.
For those of us at CyrusOne, it’s been incredibly humbling to watch as our portfolio of datacenters throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and South America play a central role in the fight against this dangerous pathogen. Data has never been more important – in fact, it’s mission critical, the life’s blood of today’s emergency response, business continuity, education, entertainment and almost every industry on earth. At this great company, we stand proud to be on the front lines of this effort, marshalling the power of connectivity to deliver data where and when it is needed most, helping countries, businesses and communities weather the storm.
Let’s take a look at the United States for a moment, and let’s look at education. In just a few short weeks, the $600 billion-plus higher education industry has been turned completely upside down as students shelter from home. Before COVID-19, education resiliency was barely on the radar at America’s 5,300 colleges and universities. But today, schools are scrambling to transition their courses and lectures to an array of online learning and video conferencing platforms. And while it’s gratifying to witness this evolution, which is on bold display in my own home, it’s important to recognize the digital divide.
In Texas, home to some of our largest data centers and our global headquarters, local media has covered the tectonic shift to the new frontiers of online learning. However, for all of our success in bringing the learning experience online, it’s absolutely crucial that we remember that connectivity is not ubiquitous. According to data from the US Census Bureau, 6% of the population of the State of Texas does not have broadband, making it virtually impossible for students in those areas to keep up with their peers throughout the state. The recently passed Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act, which will help bring next generation networks to rural areas throughout the state, not to mention the CARES Act, which contains a $13.5 billion for hardware, software and connectivity tools that will enhance online learning for low income households.
While not every industry can transition to a work-from-home environment, I’ve been awestruck by CyrusOne’s ability to keep every single one of its datacenters, and global IT infrastructure for all of our clients, firing on all cylinders as our non-essential employees shelter at home. I spend the lion’s share of every day and night on videoconferencing platforms, where I’m tied into our teams, workflows and customers in every region where we operate. Every single system in our company, whether mission critical infrastructure for customers or back-office business processes for our employees, is running seamlessly and delivering operational excellence at all levels. It’s hardly surprising that, despite the downturn in the economy, laptop and mobile tech sales surged by over 10% in the first two weeks of the outbreak as consumers prepared to work from home for the foreseeable future, according to recent data from the NPD Group.
Data brings the world together. For those of you who know me well, you’ve heard me repeat this mantra as CyrusOne vaulted to the forefront of this industry. However, COVID-19 has brought the importance of these words into striking focus. Without data, our businesses, schools and hospitals would grind to a halt. Without data, our communities couldn’t track, treat and prevent the spread of this dangerous virus. Without data, countries all over the world would fall into disarray.
While we at CyrusOne have had much success, we’ll need to stand shoulder to shoulder in the months ahead as we help our customers succeed in turbulent times. In the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Data Brings Us Together