Networking giant Cisco is getting into the coronavirus monitoring and mitigation game with its Webex remote meeting property. The company notes that in the wake of mandates issued to employees to halt travel plans and/or work from home, traffic across its Webex backbone has increased significantly.
Webex meeting traffic connecting Chinese users to global workplaces has increased by a factor of 22 since the outbreak began; traffic in other Asian countries is up by 400 percent or more, and free signup rates in impacted countries have increased 700 percent or more.
In response, Cisco is offering temporarily unlimited usage (with no time restrictions) in all countries, not just the ones worst hit by coronavirus. The company is also offering free 90-day licenses to businesses that are not currently Webex customers and offering free upgrades to customers whose current plan is insufficient to accommodate increased traffic due to the outbreak.
In the worst affected countries, telepresence and remote work software like Webex is currently the only alternative to a complete shutdown of activities. In its press release, Cisco highlights the Nesbitt Center, an organization working with disabled young adults in Hong Kong.
All Hong Kong schools, including the Nesbitt Center, have been required to suspend day programs during the outbreak. Webex videoconferencing has allowed the Nesbitt Center to continue delivering educational sessions despite the lockdown.
If you can’t or don’t want to use Webex, try Jitsi
For those who need immediate teleconferencing capabilities but cannot or do not wish to use Webex, we can also recommend the much lesser-known Jitsi.
Jitsi is free and open source software, offering video call and screen sharing capabilities. Advanced users can build their own Jitsi teleconferencing network with all on-premises equipment; people who just need to get something done on-the-fly with no setup at all can use the freely provided Jitsi Meet.
Jitsi Meet is ready to go in-browser, on any platform, with no software installation required. We see Linux User Groups presenting over Jitsi to 10-50+ remote participants pretty frequently.
We’ve also had good success organizing last-minute calls on Jitsi Meet to completely non-technical people, with no more setup than providing someone a URL.
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