The online-office trend in Hong Kong, it seems, is here to stay with many businesses adopting the practice as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe. The city is casting off its perceived image of a “tech desert”, as enterprises plan the next step ahead, trying out various online office-related applications and tools during the pandemic, said Tony Tsang, chief executive officer of DYXnet Group — a local network service provider. In a tough economic environment, businesses on the ground have to find a way out by leveraging technologies and applications that can help them sustain their basic operations and cushion the impact. Tsang said his company has been getting inquiries from different industry segments in the past few months about services such as secure sockets layer virtual private networks (SSL VPNs) and video-conferencing solutions. The former provide employees with secure remote access to business resources, while the latter could help businesses with running team presentations and training. Among DYXnet’s business clients, more than half are from the manufacturing sector, while the others come from such industries as trading, retail and logistics. “It’s no surprise seeing this happening as the pandemic is likely to last much longer, and the impact is also bigger from a geographical perspective, compared with the SARS outbreak in 2003,” said Tsang. After the SARS outbreak ended, the demand for online collaboration services plunged. But Tsang believes the demand can be sustained this time. “In 2003, we actually didn’t have good infrastructure and a fundamental environment to support a massive adoption of the online-office model. For example, we didn’t have the 4G or 5G network in place. The end-point devices were not smart enough and the cloud adoption was also low at that time,” he recalled. With the rapid development of technology, implementation experience and accumulated support skills, online collaboration services are regarded as a much-better choice for businesses in terms of investment returns, as they cost less and lead to faster solution deployment. “The cost consideration is somehow important, especially when the pandemic is over. Businesses definitely have to look into cost control during the rebound so as to bridge the significant financial performance gap created,” Tsang said. He also expected businesses to get used to online collaboration services and develop using them as a habit. In view of the growing demand for video-conferencing solutions in the market, DYXnet teamed up with Zoom Video Communications in February to become its authorized reseller in Hong Kong. Tsang saw video-conferencing services as one of the company’s key value-added services, like “butter added to bread”. “The collaboration with Zoom is definitely beneficial to both parties this time. It allows Zoom to leverage our resources to provide better sales and marketing coverage for them. And for us, Zoom can definitely help us sell more of our network services to our existing customers, as well as new customers, in adopting Zoom on the ground,” he said. According to Tsang, DYXnet has acquired “quite some” new clients through Zoom, which helped it march into certain new industry segments, such as education and government, that it did not have a chance to serve in the past.