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5 important lessons from businesses in 2021

Case studies reveal how organizations across the country transformed themselves to move past the pandemic and succeed in the new normal.

drone flying over field

With vaccine rates climbing and restrictions relaxing, 2021 is ending in a better place than the previous for businesses recovering from quarantine closures. However, even as more operations resumed midway through the year, work-from-home and remote practices persisted. It became clear that pre-pandemic operations would never return in the same way, prompting many to make significant shifts and change their long-term planning to accommodate the new normal. These modifications differed across industries and areas, but there is one constant: adopting new technology has become a necessity for resilience.

Five key lessons from the past year

  1. From crops to construction: New tech can change established industries

Some industries are hesitant to integrate new technology-based solutions into well-established practices, especially if previous implementations were complex and time-consuming. However, some additions can be simple, yet highly effective tools for improving efficiency and tackling long-standing challenges.

  • Adding wireless to the Wheat Belt! Metos Canada uses IoT tools to help farmers in rural Saskatchewan make data-driven decisions like assessing the impact of an insect population on crops through AI modeling.
  • Managing surveillance systems can be so cumbersome that some businesses opt for security guards just to avoid the hassle. Caliber Communications can outfit an entire construction site with real-time, AI managed remote video monitoring capability in just a few hours.
  • How do you sell cars when showrooms are closed? Montreal-based 360 Agency provides fully integrated retailing platforms to dealerships across Canada, directing about two million calls per year through SIP Trunking, among other feats. 
  • Fairmark Contracting did more than just digitize their administration. Owner Josh Melanson uses devices to communicate feedback instantly and even utilizes FaceTime to show site progress and problem-solve. 
  • Fewer people are carrying a pocket full of change these days and the ongoing trend towards cashless payments was bolstered by COVID-19. Many don’t realize this shift makes it harder for charities to collect donations or tips. Ontario-based tiptap provides wireless receivers to instantly accept contactless payments from credit cards, debit cards and mobile wallets.
  1. Far and wide: Remote doesn’t have to mean disconnected

Securing fast and reliable networks in more remote locations has not always been easy. However, today’s businesses are pushing for more and finding ways to connect with people no matter where they are.

  • The journey from Penelakut Island to the nearest medical lab is over four hours long so during COVID-19 the Penelakut Tribe worked with InDro Robotics to employ drones and shorten the delivery of critical supplies and test kits to just seven minutes.
  • It may seem unusual for a creative agency headquartered in downtown Toronto to report connectivity issues, but the Taylor Reid Creative Agency runs shoots around the world, relying on Rogers for Business to support their needs everywhere from Columbia to Zambia.
  • Sunshine Village in Banff attracts winter sport enthusiasts from all around the globe, so the resort had to ensure their network was also world-class. Adding 5G to the area, situated at an elevation of 2,200 metres, keeps guests connected on and off the slopes.
  • Gaining connectivity while camping can be tricky, but clients of Shark WiFi boast about running four video consoles simultaneously in the middle of nature. Powered by Rogers for Business, the provider helps a wide variety of organizations including one that relies on the network to de-ice planes in airports across Canada.
  1. Pivoting can be powerful: Swapping printers for PPE

Much has been written about flexibility during the start of the pandemic, but some took the opportunity to completely re-invent their organization by focusing on new audiences, services and more to find even greater success.

  • Commercial printer Rocket lost over $1 million in 72 hours at the start of the pandemic but CEO Scott Williams refused to layoff his staff and instead quickly shifted operations to producing PPE for the community and local businesses.
  • Change is nothing new for RS Distribution Services who began as a delivery service solely for phone books. The company completely overhauled their practices and became a fully automated delivery service, receiving orders and completing trips within two hours of customer contact.
  1. Beyond WiFi: Just being connected isn’t enough

The vast majority of Canadian businesses have an internet connection, but traditional WiFi isn’t enough to support more complex processing or larger amounts of data. Cutting edge enterprises turn to Rogers for Business to support their emerging technology as they reinvent what’s possible.

  • Custom drone manufacturer Aurora Aerial’s creations can carry twice the weight of their competitors and fly for longer, using real-time analytics to continuously improve their product. 
  • It wasn’t long ago that utility usage was captured by radio frequency with limited or incomplete data capture. Utilismart Corporation is part of the shift towards smart meters, measuring not just consumption but also monitoring power outages and overloads, among other important factors.
  • As one of the region’s fastest growing cities, Kelowna, British Columbia became the first to pilot a smart city initiative, using 5G to tackle everything from road safety to social distancing on city streets.  
  1. Disaster preparedness is a continuous practice

The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 left businesses understandably unprepared but even small, unexpected events can cause real problems for an organization. That’s why many shifted their perspective and began pre-emptively planning for possible disruptions in the future in an effort to resume operations more quickly.

  • After a flood left accounting firm WBM scrambling to move their servers, the team shifted to a  virtual private cloud (VPC) for the option to work remotely, helping to avoid future shutdowns.
  • Peguis First Nation lost power for 10 days following a snowstorm, after which the Chief took steps to ensure residents wouldn’t again be left without the ability to communicate in an emergency.


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