Post #62: Virus vs the Internet - Heptagon Capital – Production

We’re all gradually getting used to the new normal not only of home-working, but increasingly home-schooling too. Domestic data demands are growing…

Post #62: Virus vs the Internet

We’re all gradually getting used to the new normal not only of home-working, but increasingly home-schooling too. Domestic data demands are growing, whether for video conferencing or online tutorials. Consider by way of example that the number of weekly new users of corporate messaging apps such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and WeChat Work has leapt from 1.4m at the start of this year to 6.7m (and growing) in early March (per Sensor Tower, an analytics firm). However, the question lingers: while we’re all ever-more connected, will the Internet still work?

Uncertainty seems order of the day, compounded both by hysteria and misinformation. Sure, almost everyone has an anecdotal story to tell about trouble getting online and/or patchy broadband connections, but the headline answer to the above question is simply a ‘yes’. The Internet (or the piping that underpins it) was built for peak capacity. Take the comment from Charter Communications, a US cable and internet business: “our network is built to sustain maximum capacity during peak usage, which is typically in the evenings, so a surge during the day would be well within our capacities to manage.”

Most peoples’ work needs are, of course, reassuringly straightforward. Neither the use of chat apps nor video conferencing is a bandwidth-heavy activity. Meanwhile, telecoms regulators and even politicians in some countries (such as the US) have written to their country’s principal network operators for reassurances that their capacity will not be constrained even in the event of increased streaming activity, say, for online lessons. The bigger concern from an educational point of view is that while household broadband penetration in Britain is close to 100%, in the US and some European countries (e.g. Italy) it is only around 80% (per the OECD). Poorer and/or more rural households may be especially disadvantaged. 

So far, so good. One issue, however, it is important to be aware of is that increased home-working may spur a rise in cybercrime. Out of every crisis emerges opportunities for some, and there have been reported rises in both phishing and malware attacks in several geographies. It’s important to protect from viruses wherever possible.

Disclaimers

The document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or any recommendation to buy, or sell or otherwise transact in any investments. The document is not intended to be construed as investment research. The contents of this document are based upon sources of information which Heptagon Capital believes to be reliable. However, except to the extent required by applicable law or regulations, no guarantee, warranty or representation (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this document or its contents and, Heptagon Capital, its affiliate companies and its members, officers, employees, agents and advisors do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information or any views expressed herein. Opinions expressed whether in general or in both on the performance of individual investments and in a wider economic context represent the views of the contributor at the time of preparation. Where this document provides forward-looking statements which are based on relevant reports, current opinions, expectations and projections, actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All opinions and estimates included in the document are subject to change without notice and Heptagon Capital is under no obligation to update or revise information contained in the document. Furthermore, Heptagon Capital disclaims any liability for any loss, damage, costs or expenses (including direct, indirect, special and consequential) howsoever arising which any person may suffer or incur as a result of viewing or utilising any information included in this document. 

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