CPaaS for COVID-19 Management in the Enterprise
Communications technology is an integral part of the management and mitigation of COVID-19, helping enterprises move forward in the new normal.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has challenged businesses to create an environment that keeps their employees and customers safe. According to a recent article in the New York Times, in addition to physical barriers such as plexiglass screens and face masks, many organizations have begun to leverage technology to take a more sophisticated, data-oriented approach to managing the pandemic.
Telestax is working with select partners to test and develop effective virus management strategies that rely on communications platform as a service (CPaaS). These strategies serve to protect workers onsite while also ensuring that remote workers can maintain the same standards in a secure environment.
“What we are finding at the enterprise level is that companies around the world are really struggling with how to manage the business going forward, along with managing the pandemic,” said Telestax Chief Commercial Officer Kevin Nethercott. “One of the issues is how to implement social distancing within the four walls of a company.”
COVID-19 Mitigation at the Office
Nethercott began developing the COVID-19 mitigation solution alongside a Telestax partner. With over 2,000 employees, the executive team of the organization was focused on keeping employees safe, while continuing to provide the services on which their customers rely.
Using biometric technology, one facet of the solution helps to ensure that the individuals coming into the office are fever-free and wearing masks. Next, innovative social distancing technology routes them to different parts of the building depending on office capacity.
“Think of it as dividing the office into different zones,” said Nethercott. “Fill up Zone A. If I show up and it’s too full, you go to Zone B. This is a great way for the company to direct employees to the proper place inside the building. They looked at a few other things, such as how to set up desks, or how they might put plexiglass, or another type of barrier around the desks. As a system integrator, they have taken the lead and implemented these changes. Now, they can offer this ‘new normal’ solution to other companies as well.”
Privacy and Professionalism for Remote Workers
Once the strategy was developed, the company needed the right technology to ensure that it functioned in a busy office environment, as well as to effectively serve individuals working from home.
“That is when Telestax comes into the picture,” Nethercott said. “It happens on two levels. The first is more traditional, now that folks are working from home, they need different capabilities or products to use and still be connected to the office. These are things like the Telestax Auto Attendant where you can tie a personal phone number to a more sophisticated front end where you can have an IVR, access voicemail, or redirect calls to other phone numbers at certain times of the day.”
Reducing the number of people in the office can help limit the spread of the virus, but for those individuals working from home, CPaaS can help ensure privacy and professionalism.
“In many cases because of privacy they are looking at Number Masking,” said Nethercott. “The company needs to maintain the privacy of the employee that is using their personal cell phone while handling business calls. Being able to hide that number and mask it in a dynamic way is now rather important. By tying back into their corporate PBX, we can manage that as one system or solution. Whether you are in the office or whether you are at home, you can maintain that privacy.”
Back at the office, communication is critical, especially in the event that an employee’s health is compromised.
“If someone comes down with a fever or if there is another issue, being able to alert the proper team to come and resolve an issue is critical,” Nethercott said. “With Telestax, you can send a text message, or a phone call, or an email that is triggered by the third-party platform that detected the problem. That is something CPaaS does really well. So all the different third parties that our partners bring into the solution, such as the biometrics, are tied into our CPaaS via APIs. If something happens at the software level we can add this communication channel for them to send those alerts.”
As each alert is triggered, and the communications are sent to the correct individuals or teams, contact tracing can also be performed as part of the solution based on where the employee had been within the office.
“If you look at the actual tracking software of how employees are placed for social distancing within a company, those are being tracked by a third party software,” Nethercott said. “It is real time enough so if you and I were working on a project and we kept getting closer than the two meters, it would send a text message to each of us saying ‘Distance Alert! Please maintain the correct distance for the health and safety of all.’ You have that capability to help keep employees safe and that is through our APIs. If I get sick, the system would know if you and I had worked on something together and that you had been exposed three days ago, so once again we can send an alert saying ‘You have recently been exposed, get tested.’ Whatever the protocol the company sets forward at that point can play a role in the response.”
Establishing the New Normal
The dual purpose of the solution, helping to keep the workers on the premises safe, while also ensuring security and professionalism for those working from home, is one of the most attractive aspects.
“A big part of this solution is the communications technology and how people can work more efficiently from home,” said Nethercott. “Another part is integrating the third-party applications that are managing safety for those onsite. CSPs can sell not only the communications side, but bring in some of the third-party solutions for their enterprise customers.”
CPaaS is an important part of establishing the new normal and enabling new capabilities will be essential to managing the impact of the pandemic.
To learn more about Telestax applications and the development of COVID-19 management solutions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.