The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a newly discovered and highly contagious respiratory disease which is responsible for the ongoing global pandemic. COVID-19, is spread when droplets from an infected person (through sneezing, coughing or exhaling) fall on surfaces. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the first human case of COVID-19, was reported by officials in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019 and on the 27th of February 2020 in Nigeria. The Nigerian status as of the date of this article is 62,521 cases with 58,249 recoveries and 1,141 deaths. To prevent the spread of the virus, preventive measures such as social distancing, quarantine, covering coughs and sneezes, hand washing, and keeping unwashed hands away from the face were prescribed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The use of face masks or coverings was also mandated in public settings to minimize the risk of transmissions by the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19.
To mitigate the effects of the virus, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), private companies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), family and friends, academic institutions and conferences adopted Video Conferencing solutions as the primary means of communication. Video Conference (VC) is a live, virtual, visual connection between two or more people residing in different locations for the purpose of communicating. It provides transmission of full-motion video images and high-quality audio between multiple locations. VC is a core component of unified communications applications and web conferencing services. While cloud-based, virtual meeting room services enable organizations to deploy VC with minimal infrastructure investment.
As the world adjusts to the effects of the pandemic, VC solutions have become more and more popular. Vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft and Zoom have responded to the crisis by offering cloud VC solutions either for free, or by extending the functionality of their existing solutions for a reasonable fee. Effective communication is critical during this period to keep governments and businesses running as smoothly as possible and as such, VC ensures that employees are connected from their individual safe spaces.
An example of this solution is Zoom (https://zoom.us/) which offers simultaneous meeting spaces. Other features include:
Basic version – Free
• Host up to 100 participants
• 40-minute maximum group meetings
• Unlimited 1:1 Meetings
Enterprise/Large Enterprise-Ready $199.90 /year/license
• Host up to 500 Participants
• Host up to 1,000 Participants with an Enterprise+ Plan
• Unlimited Cloud Storage
• Dedicated Customer Success Manager
Galaxy Backbone Limited, to this end, hosted President Muhammadu Buhari maiden virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council on the 13th of May 2020 at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The primary benefit of the various VC Solutions out there is saving countless lives that would have been infected with the virus if in person meetings were held. Others include saving travel commute times and more:
• Enabling more meetings
• Saving time and money
• Providing users with convenience
• Recording tools
The main disadvantage of VC Solution is the lack of personal connection between meeting participants. A lot can be missed in terms of body language communications. Other disadvantages include:
• Technical issues
• Bandwidth intensive
• Exposing the haves and the have nots
People stand to benefit from the advantages of VC in governance, business, and personal lives by participating across a range of scenarios that can only lead to improved communication. VC solutions will continue to prove themselves to be useful, engaging tools for communication long after this novel COVID-19 virus has been contained.
To find out more details about video conferencing solutions for your organization, please click galaxybackbone.com.ng/telexperience/
Musa Chinade, Ugonna Uwaleme and Shirley Modebe
National Policies, Strategies and Mandate Projects