Bandwidth Will be Crucial in Post-COVID Shared Offices

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, not just for the short-term, but forever.

The digital transformation brought on by the coronavirus crisis has been well documented with not only businesses embracing new technologies, but employees adopting new habits, such as Zoom meetings and attending online conferences, that will carry into a post-pandemic world.

Even when we return to office buildings, there will still be a culture of remote work, with many companies offering hybrid work schedules split between on-site and home.

All of this means that employees will return to offices with an increased appetite for bandwidth required for Zoom meetings, virtual conferences, and online sales presentations and downloads.

“I absolutely think people will go back to the office as soon as their business and the environment permits,” Justin Harley, coworking software executive, told Bisnow.com. “However, people will bring along a new work ethos from working from home. Employees are far more familiar with video conference calls and are far more willing and accepting to switch on the webcam. So, the demand on data has gone up and operators must prepare.”

For those office buildings home to flexible or shared office space, offering enough bandwidth for this new normal will be key to attracting and retaining tenants.

Video Bandwidth Demands Were Growing Before Pandemic

Even before COVID-19 changed the way we do business the growing demands of video applications were putting high-speed internet networks to the test.

A 2019 white paper by Cisco projected that by 2022, video will account for 82 percent of all global IP traffic.

Cisco was already predicting pre-pandemic that live video would grow a whopping 15-fold between 2017 and 2022, making up 17 percent of global IP video traffic.

Competing with Zoom and live video for bandwidth in the coming years are video surveillance, internet gaming, virtual reality, and augmented reality traffic.

IT Must Prepare for Post-COVID Digital Needs

If you have struggled through a live video meeting with sketchy bandwidth then you understand the frustrations of frozen frames and garbled audio.

While bandwidth issues are merely a nuisance when holding your family Zoom get-together, it can be costly when you are trying to conduct business.

Flexible and shared space IT landlords need to prepare for the bandwidth demand that this new Zoom generation will bring to the office.

How Much Bandwidth is Needed?

Zoom’s official bandwidth requirements, which automatically adjusts depending on its WiFi or wired environment:

Recommended bandwidth for meetings and webinar panelists

  • 1:1 video calling:
    • High-quality video: 600kbps (up/down)chris-montgomery-smgTvepind4-unsplash
    • 720p HD video: 1.2Mbps (up/down)
    • 1080p HD video: 3.8Mbps/3.0Mbps (up/down)
  • Group video calling:
    • High-quality video: 1.0 Mbps/600kbps (up/down)
    • 720p HD video: 2.6Mbps/1.8Mbps (up/down)
    • 1080p HD video: 3.8Mbps/3.0Mbps (up/down)
    • Gallery view receiving: 2.0Mbps (25 views), 4.0Mbps (49 views) 
  • Screen sharing only (no video thumbnail): 50-75kbps
  • Screen sharing with video thumbnail: 50-150kbps
  • Audio VoiP: 60-80kbps
  • Zoom Phone: 60-100kbps

Recommended bandwidth for webinar attendees

  • 1:1 video calling: 600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2Mbps (down) for HD video
  • Screen sharing only (no video thumbnail): 50-75kbps (down)
  • Screen sharing with video thumbnail: 50-150kbps (down)
  • Audio VoiP: 60-80kbps (down)

The bandwidth demands for a Zoom group video call can use between 1 million and 4 million MB per seconds or 10 to 40 times what a typical VoIP audio call consumes.

For shared and flexible office spaces, the bandwidth demands could soar with multiple tenants all conducting video conferences and calls simultaneously.

Wanted: Flexible, Smart Workspaces

A JLL report released in July 2020 predicts that 30 percent of all office space will be consumed flexibly by 2030.

“Office space will continue to evolve as a result of the pandemic and is arguably going to play an even greater role in driving corporate well-being and productivity,” said Ben Munn, Global Flexible Space Lead for JLL. “As organizations look to adapt to the ‘next normal’ where de-densification of main office space will need to occur, we anticipate a move towards a ‘hub and spoke’ model that provides office locations closer to where people live. These distributed locations, or ‘spokes,’ are likely to lean heavily on flexible space arrangements.”

The shared office spaces will need to offer technology integration that provides tenants enough bandwidth to operate on business models built around live video.

Tenants are willing to sign longer leases in buildings that offer quality connectivity, including WiFi, according to research from Wired Score.

The 221 VTS Global Office Landlord report says that the percentage of landlords who expect to dedicate more than 10 to 20 percent of their portfolios to flexible space in 2021 vs. 2020 has more than doubled.

“This new research indicates that for the foreseeable future, commercial office landlords will need to proactively manage their business recovery, continue to focus on and even reinvent tenant relationships, and modernize their operations if they are to emerge from COVID in the best position possible,” said Nick Romito, CEO of VTS. “Ultimately, the landlords with the right technology, data and marketing investments will be the ones best positioned to win during the pandemic and beyond.”

Contact PS Lightwave today to find out how we can meet your bandwidth needs with our high-speed internet, ethernet circuits, and fiber network solutions in the Houston area.

PS LIGHTWAVE provides high-speed, fiber Internet for public and private commercial entities in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.

Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and expert, locally based support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. We invite you to learn more about our services, our history and our dedicated team.