The big picture: With any luck, communications networks will hold up under the added stress as this pandemic continues to play out. For many, the Internet is serving as a last vestige of sanity in these uncertain times and a way to keep paychecks coming in. If the Internet starts to fail under load, this whole thing could go from very bad to outright scary in no time.
Microsoft on Sunday said it has observed a staggering 775 percent increase in the usage of its cloud services over the past week in regions that have enforced social distancing or shelter in place orders.
Usage of Microsoft’s collaboration software, Teams, has spiked as well as the service now has more than 44 million daily users. Redmond said Teams users generated over 900 million meeting and calling minutes daily in a single week.
Usage of Windows Virtual Desktop, meanwhile, has grown more than 3x, we’re told.
Microsoft said it is expediting the addition of “significant new capacity” that’ll be available in the coming weeks and is taking some proactive measures to reduce capacity strain. For example, with Teams, they’ve adjusted video resolution and how often they show when the other party is typing.
On the Xbox front, Microsoft said it is working with publishing partners to deliver higher-bandwidth activities like game updates during off-peak hours. They’ve also temporarily disabled the ability to upload custom gamerpics, club pics and club backgrounds to help streamline moderation and ensure the best experience for the community.
Despite usage increases, Microsoft said they have not experienced any significant service disruptions.
Masthead credit: Emilija Miljkovic, GaudilLab