For more than a year, the world has been dealing with the COVID crisis, and it’s safe to say we have all been affected both personally and professionally. For most of us, this was our first experience with a global pandemic, and we all experienced significant changes rapidly thrust upon us, including the way we interact and work with technology. In business particularly, the pandemic accelerated the necessity for new hardware and software.
Apps and Websites Everyone Now Knows
Apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Amazon Chime, Google Meet, FaceTime, etc. are now ubiquitous technologies – even children have learned how to use them for online school. We are meeting with people from around the world everyday thanks to these video-based platforms, and it’s all considered “normal.”
At LuminFire we have created new and updated existing apps and websites to specifically meet the new needs of remote workforce and clients.
Geography Matters Less Than Ever
At LuminFire, we have clients all over the world. This was the case before the pandemic, but even more so now. We have found that supporting clients anywhere across the globe is easier now than before because everyone knows how to use the tools. Even with our local clients, even those just down the street, we’ve been meeting electronically.
Amazon, Target, Walmart, Grubhub, DoorDash, Ubereats and others deliver everything to our doorsteps. If one company’s ordering app is frustrating to use or loses all your data after you create an order… you simply move on to a different restaurant or retailer whose technology works, proving that a company’s websites and apps are more critical than ever. The technology needs to be easy to use and work reliably on any device.
Remote Work is Expected
Remote computer technologies have become even more critical – This includes VPNs, Citrix, TeamViewer, etc.. Companies and organizations who never allowed remote work before now have the majority of their workforce working remotely, and employees are finding they like it. Workers now expect to be able to work from anywhere that WiFi is available.
At LuminFire, we’ve always had the option for our team to work from home… but we also know there is something magical that happens with teamwork and relationships when you can meet in person. With vaccinations rapidly rolling out and clean air measures in place at our office, we’re looking forward to seeing each other more often very soon. We’ve been away too long.
Security is Critical
With the move to more cloud services and remote work outside of the controlled office network, security is more important than ever – and more challenging. Studies show that cyber criminal activity is at an all-time high. Hackers are taking advantage of all the new remote work situations and are breaking into insecure systems and internet connections, allowing them to steal sensitive personal or company information or scam people out of their money.
To protect our clients, LuminFire has a robust suite of security services. These services are more important than ever; now is the time to make sure that your team is well-trained and aware of the potential risks.
Conferences are Changing
Because COVID has caused in-person conferences to be cancelled, many have moved to virtual conferences. But let’s be honest: Zoom fatigue is real. In-person conferences that lasted several days don’t necessarily translate well to a virtual event. Attention spans lag and networking is more difficult.
Several conferences, including Claris Engage (formerly FileMaker DevCon), have addressed this issue by changing their virtual format to spread out the sessions and content over several weeks for more ongoing learning, education, and networking.
Here at LuminFire, we have helped to successfully produce several online virtual conferences. These conferences were 2-3 days in length, but addressed the Zoom fatigue by allowing for breakout sessions, adding games, and shortening their days.
With the move to Zoom there has been a consolidation of Meetup groups. Virtual meetings mean people can join in from anywhere in the world… and they are. We’ve combined several FMPUG-MN (FileMaker Pro User Group) meetings with other similar groups. People from throughout the U.S., and even other countries and continents have been on the calls. It’s been a great way to connect with others who have similar interests across the globe.
With access to so many groups and recordings of those meetups, our FMPUG-MN strives to create unique content and experiences rather than repeat the same speakers that have presented at other groups. Keep a look out for our upcoming meetings by signing up on Meetup.
Despite the amazing connection Zoom brings, we have found that people are craving real contact with other people. In anticipation of being able to meet in-person again, we’ve invested in technology to help people feel safe and connected in our Minnesota office.
The Good News: Business is Recovering
So many businesses have suffered due to the lockdowns. Especially hurt have been the travel, hospitality, and entertainment industries. We’ve been glad to be able to do our part to help those industries as we were able through pro-bono work, grants, forgiveness of debt, and discounted services. We are seeing that many of these businesses are just starting to recover, and we’re hopeful that things are looking up.
The world has changed. Even as we go back to “normal,” we believe that the technology changes are here to stay, providing us with more conveniences and making the world a more connected place.
We’re here to partner with you to make your business’ technology a success. Let us know how we can help.