Struggling Canadian workers find a lifeline in three months of free access to RingCentral Office
As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, and closures become a way of life, technology is assuming a critical new role in connecting people, organizations and businesses around the globe. With widespread demand for digital tools, RingCentral could have made profit its focus—but instead, the global cloud communications and collaboration company is providing three months of free, voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) service to teachers, students, healthcare providers, news and media, public sector and nonprofit organizations.
“We have been working to make communications more accessible and seamless for over a decade,” says Anand Eswaran, RingCentral’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “We see it as our duty during this difficult time to help people communicate, collaborate, and stay productive while minimizing the risks to their health and safety.”
Keeping Healthcare Healthy
As Canadian hospitals of all sizes prepare for an onslaught of patients infected with COVID-19, healthcare providers will benefit from using RingCentral’s cloud-based phone system.
In addition to making secure professional calls from a state-of-the-art digital platform with the ability to share visuals and conduct virtual meetings, medical professionals will be able to send prescriptions, health records, and billing information without any compromise to patient wellbeing.
In a March 26 article in hospitalnews.com (the website affiliated with Canada’s healthcare newspaper), Dr. Chris Hobson characterizes the far-reaching impact of COVID-19 as a wake-up call for patients and healthcare providers, urging that healthcare officials turn their attention to digital health as a way of sustaining healthcare systems.
Electronic health records, e-screening, patient management and remote monitoring are all part of the mix, along with the kind of connectivity integral to voice over internet communication systems such as RingCentral.
Providing Nonprofits with Invaluable Tools
For nonprofits, many of which of which are seeing donations dry up and worrying about their ability to continue community outreach, the RingCentral offer is a chance to expand existing connectivity and have everything they need in one desktop or mobile app, including HD quality audio, video conferencing, screen sharing, team messaging, and a robust and reliable phone system. Not only does this equip remote workers to complete important work securely and easily, but it also saves precious time because onboarding an entire organization can be completed in a matter of minutes.
Assessing your equipment is one of the basic steps outlined in TechSoup Canada’s guide for nonprofit employees working from home during COVID-19 restrictions. Recommended tools include video calls, teleconferencing, cloud-based collaborative platforms and document management programs.
Members of nonprofits that are able to continue working remotely will find these and other supports in the RingCentral offer—and the three month duration will even be extended on a case-by-case basis to allow nonprofits to continue providing essential services.
With vital Canadian charities such as the Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation and United Way contributing approximately $162 billion to the country’s GDP and employing more than 10 per cent of working Canadians, it’s a group that requires exceptional support in order to survive in these challenging times.
A Timely Support for Education
The free RingCentral offer will also be a transformative support for educators at levels ranging from primary to post secondary. Tools such as video conferencing, team messaging, and screen sharing will help to provide the best possible distance learning experience for faculty members, teachers and students.
Equally importantly, RingCentral allows educators to use those numbers for school-related calls and messaging while protecting the privacy of personal devices.
For students keen to finish their academic terms, especially those in critical transition years, the RingCentral offer could not have come at a better time. During the second week of March, schools in most parts of Canada began to announce short-term closures attached to March Break, but Alberta’s March 15th decision to close schools indefinitely was the first whisper that classes across the country could be cancelled until September.
Resistance to online learning, one of the hallmarks of many disputes in teacher contract negotiations, disappeared in the face of COVID-19.
Accessing a World of Information
As provinces look for ways to deliver essential curriculum and families scramble to find resources, the RingCentral offer is a timely asset for the virtual classroom. VoIP phone calls and SMS text messages allow students and their parents to communicate with teachers and administrators.
Free video conferencing for up to 100 participants replicates the classroom experience and gives students the opportunity to ask and answer questions and even engage in debate online. File sharing handles the distribution and collection of homework assignments (a provision that some students will appreciate more than others).
According to Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, the silver lining to today’s pandemic is that teachers will realize the power of virtual classrooms and continue to use technology to enhance face-to-face learning, even after a return to normalcy. “I wish we didn’t need to have this crisis to realize the opportunities online learning opens to us,” she says. “I think we are very lucky to be able to access the world of learning from the convenience of our homes.”
Good news, such as the RingCentral offer, goes a long way in troubled times, and there are many stories of businesses lending a hand. Technology companies, in particular, are emerging as leaders in equipping individuals, businesses and organizations of all sizes to succeed in the face of a global threat.