Lockdown – How technology proved vital, how NVT Group played its part and how things stand two years on

Today marks two years since the UK went into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
We don’t need to remind you of the many unknowns and worries at that time. On reflection, some of them seem relatively unimportant today, e.g. did you know which supermarkets had toilet tissue in stock? Meanwhile, other concerns were very real and very frightening, and the uncertainty of the time – pre-vaccines and, indeed, pre-widespread coronavirus testing – still weighs heavy on people’s collective consciousness.

In March 2020, NVT Group’s Board of Directors decided that taking a proactive approach to minimising the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission was key. And so, by the time lockdown became official, NVT Group was already implementing its business continuity strategy and had commenced ‘Location Rotation’, whereby 50% of staff worked from home whilst the other 50% remained in the office. This approach allowed us to best protect our people with social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures, to closely monitor their health and to maintain continuity of service.
However, by 23rd March 2020, like most other businesses we had closed the doors of our Earn House HQ and every NVT Group employee switched to working from home.

At the same time, those working in the NHS at the front line of the battle against COVID-19 became the rightful recipients of weekly applause, whilst everyone else contributed in their own ways to the fight. For instance, supermarket workers and delivery drivers ensured people stayed fed, childcare providers kept on providing crucial services on behalf of key workers that couldn’t stay at home and pop music artists even entertained people from the confines of their kitchens.

This was also a time when the power of technology really proved itself. As people retreated to their homes to ride out the worst of the pandemic, so the need to feel more connected to family, loved ones and colleagues grew exponentially.
As a technology business, we were proud to play our part, supplying the necessary security and communications applications required to facilitate the sudden leap to remote working. We produced “how-to” guides, to help people get most of the software used to enable collaborative working with their colleagues. For some clients, we even dropped off laptops and other hardware to the home workers who urgently needed them.

That the same technologies were adopted to ensure we could all stay connected to each other outside working hours – to help us retain some sense of normality in the face of great uncertainty – was more than just a bonus. It was crucial to retaining a sense of community and belonging.

As lockdown went on, we published a series of blogs which explained how our people were adjusting to life working from home. We also warned our customers of the growing problem of cyber-crime and we recommended strengthening cyber defences to counter the threats.

Fundamentally, we strove to ensure that we delivered useful, effective, courteous and timely IT support to people living and working in their homes, by a team of dedicated IT people living and working in their homes.
And we are proud to say we succeeded.

Today, most of our people have returned to Earn House, with enhanced health and safety measures in place to help make sure that they stay well. We continue to assist clients as they also make movements back to office environments and/or to help them realise a hybrid working strategy that offers the best of both worlds.

And we are thankful to report that business is buoyant as we go forward through this current phase of the pandemic.

Indeed, in 2021 we welcomed VIOTU Ltd to the NVT Group of companies. VIOTU is the specialist Internet of Things (IoT) division of NVT Group and supplies an array of environmental equipment that is proving crucial to safe workplace operations, including sensors which detect and measure motion, occupancy levels, humidity, air quality, temperature, light levels and cleanliness.

Currently, VIOTU is also taking great strides in the support of businesses that provide close contact services by introducing technologies that minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission by improving ventilation.

Also, our Digital Placemaking business continues to grow the UK presence of the OMNILED smart lighting solution and platform for IoT applications. Right now, you can see the OMNILED units and find out about their renewable energy benefits at the Arnold Clark Innovation Centre in Glasgow, of which NVT Group is a proud sponsor.

Meanwhile, our Blue Rock Cyber Defence business remains a figurehead in the fight against cyber-crime and that is why, in the past year, we have been approaching our clients to propose we audit their existing cyber defence strategies to ensure they are sufficient to meet the threat landscape.

Most recently, our Aiir Networks business has made great progress in its objectives to deliver connectivity services to the agricultural sector and rural communities in Scotland.

Last, but not least, in the past twelve months we launched our new Service Desk. Users tell us they prefer the new set-up in which a dedicated team of systems engineers and senior technologists are assigned to resolving the IT problems they experience. Since our teams are effectively an extension to our clients’ teams, it makes perfect sense that users would benefit by getting to know the people who deliver their IT services better, which is why it is gratifying to see that their feedback has been so positive in this regard.

With all this in mind, today we sincerely thank all our clients for their support during the past two years and we look forward with them with optimism for the future.

We also wish to thank our people, who adapted to the changes admirably and went the extra mile to ensure continuity of services to those who really needed them.

It is our pleasure and our privilege to be your chosen IT Support partner and, should you wish to know more about the ways in which we can help you with your changing IT requirements, please do not hesitate to talk to us.

Wishing you, your teams and your families continued good health throughout 2022.