Shapeshift Society

Worldwide shut-downs to prevent a pandemic crisis create shockwaves in the economy and society in general. Suddenly we are depending on smart communication to work, talk to friends and family, shop or go to church. In the SmartCom Summit on June 30 different experts discuss the current shapeshift society and enabling technologies.

Smartcom is technology that enables online collaboration and communication, allowing us to lead our lives without having to travel to work, school, shops or schools. We have become cloud-commuters.

CPaaS is a range of services and building blocks that make it possible to add communications into online consumer services and business applications. Not just in webshops or patient apps, but also in collaborative design tools that enable engineers to work together when developing a new airplane. Or in a bookkeeping program.

Work from Home

Some 36% of the western workforce can work from home > Looking at labor statistics and recent job ads Norwegian researchers concluded that some 36% of all employees could work from home, some jobs more than others. Researchers at the University of Chicago came to a similar percentage for the USA when they looked at survey data from the Occupational Information Network.

  • Clerical support workers — 67%
  • Managers — 52%
  • Academics — 52%
  • Technicians and associate professionals — 43%
  • Service and sales workers — 29%
  • Craft and related trades workers — 21%
  • Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers — 0%
  • Plant, machine operators, and assemblers — 0%
  • Elementary occupations — 0%

PWC: Dutch can save almost four billion euro yearly when working from home > Research done by PWC (report) shows that cost savings add up to 3,9 billion euro if half the Dutch worforce of 9M people work from home one day a week. Employers would save some 1,7 billion on office costs; employees would gain 1,1 billion on travel costs. CO2 would be lowered by 602 kiloton, an extra gain! A potential risk is reduced team spirit, which could affect innovation.

Shapeshift Economies

Corona-app served by Belastingdienst > Dutch Health Authorities are testing their corona-app with bug bounty hunters. If the app passes these exams the new service will be managed by the Dutch Taxes, as Belastingdienst has experience with large-scale rollouts.

Chinese commuters prefer cars > On the streets of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, mid-May morning traffic was higher than 2019 averages while subway use was well below normal, according to data compiled by BloombergNEF. Volume on Beijing’s metro system is 53 percent below pre-virus levels. Subway usage in Shanghai and Guangzhou is down 29 percent and 39 percent, respectively.

Yandex food deliveryYandex >Putin rules the Russians, but during the corona-shutdown the country is run by Yandex. The local internet giant started in 1997 as a search engine (one year ahead of Google) and over time the company has expanded as a shopping platform, a delivery service and a taxi company. Yandex also markets meal kits (a la Hello Fresh) and its cloud service facilitates Russian knowledge workers. The fast growing popularity of this internet platform is now a huge worry for Putin. The independant Yandex news channel is censored since 2018.

Remote Education

90% of all public schools in Madrid and the surrounding regions started using Microsoft Teams to connect teachers with students, during corona lockdown in Spain.

Lil Kleine launched an one year online education for wannabee entrepreneurs under the label Street University. Students get weekly college by the rapping professor or someone from his extensive network in music and business.

Chatter on the Job

Deliveroo > The British delivery service Deliveroo has 2,500 employees (most of them riders) that drop-off food from over 80,000 restaurants to thousands of customers every day. The company connects its stakeholders via a customized platform based on Slack.

E2E > Zoom will include end-to-end encryption from mid-July.

Huddle Space > New office designs include huddle rooms, or separate video conferencing corners for smaller groups.

API for healthcare > KPN API Store selected four API’s that could help hospitals and other healthcare institutions to improve their services. Videocalls are enabled with WeSeeDo Direct API. A choice between voice or video is possible with Kandy WebRTC API. Another recommendation is Parley Secure Messenger API. Last but not least KPN mentions Nexmo SMS API to send messages to groups of clients, patients or staff.

Employee Engagement

MAKRO > With seventeen megastores in the Netherlands, Makro is a major supplier to small and medium enterprise. More than 3500 employees ensure that Makro brings daily fresh food, but also non-food, even computer hardware and consumer electronics to the customers at its stores.

Few of these workers have deskjobs, so getting messages through the ranks was a bit of an issue. Until Makro connected all its employees to Facebook’s Workplace. Turns out this communication platform is a bit of a game changer. The info does not only flow from the top down, but feedback finds its way up too. Furthermore many new horizontal connections enable improved team work, sharing experiences on functional levels and better connections between colleagues.

WWF > Preparing for WWF’s Annual Conference the network communications department decided to invite all 100,000 employees and volunteers to connect via Facebook’s Workplace. Idea was to spread the word and improve engagement. The result: 200% more online participants to the event. And many after-effects.

Workplace is now also an online management meeting place at WWF: fifteen international directors use this platform to discuss policies and improve decision making. For project managers it is the preferred collaboration platform. Plus: thousands of employees and volunteers find each other in shared interests and activities worldwide.

Message Mills

Missing Persons on ATMsAmber Alert > Has multiplied its sender capacity with Messagebird. It used to take four to five hours to send one million messages about missing children; now that takes only 10 minutes. In 2019 the service sent out 35 alerts. In 31 cases the child was recovered. Most alerts (22) were sent in the Czech Republic.

Subway > With more than 40,000 shops worldwide, Subway has a lot of appetites to satisfy. It’s callcenters use Amazon Connect because cloud callcenter technology saves costs.

Video Society

Priest Sinatra70% UP! church visits online > Protestant ministers observe an upward trend in church visits since they moved their services online. In a Dutch survey that included 250 churches, 70% of protestant clergymen noticed an upward trend online, while amongst catholic priest only 20% mentioned larger audiences online. Another predictable find: recorded sunday services are also watched on other days of the week. Even God has a long tail.

ING Bank 1500 video-calls per week > ING Bank in the Netherlands will close one quarter of its current 170 local offices. Customers have switched to video-calling their bank since corona. Ten years ago the bank had 280 offices and 500 service point; by the end of this year that will be 128 and 250.

Inmates on video >Prisons across the US have suspended in-person visits for family members of inmates amid the coronavirus outbreak. Video chatting has been available to many inmates, but these remote visits can be expensive. Only one state – Pennsylvania – is using Zoom to provide video visitation to its inmates. More than 20,000 Zoom video visits have occurred in the state between March 19 and mid-April. (Business Insider)

Funeralcast > The crematorium in Amersfoort has a live connection for family and friends that cannot attend funerals.


Bridges in the Cloud > The province of Friesland keeps an eye on its roads, bridges and waterways through asset management in the cloud. Staf and client relations are managed via HRM and CRM in the cloud. All Office applications were recently moved to the cloud. To make sure all these applications are connected and data can flow back and forth, the Province uses Integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS) Enable-U in the Cloud.

traffic control centre

Mobility as a Service > Planes, trams, buses and trains are often connected to local, regional, national and sometimes even global traffic systems. In certain circumstances these systems also include traveller data. How many people are on that bus, in that train?

Crowd data are more important in times when social distancing is an issue. How do existing traffic platforms deal with this next level beyond vehicle data? InTraffic might know. And IBM helps the Port of Rotterdam with the creation of a connected harbour.

Remote Meet-ups

TEAMS > The number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams has gone up from 32 million to 44 million in just one week in March, according to a report from Microsoft. The company observed that halfway March many companies shifted to working from home and meeting online. The total amount of meeting minutes went up from 900 million every day to 2,7 billion in March. In April the userbase climbed further to 75 million daily active users. Norway and the Netherlands top the charts when video-usage is considered.

CourtCall > A typical CPaaS presented by Infoware that provides judges, attorneys, law firms and others involved in court procedures to use a remote appearance platform, currently based on Chime developed by Amazon Web Services. The company started as a phone service in het nineties and has handled more than 4 million online appearances in twentyfive years.

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