Neal Jannels is managing director of One Mortgage System (OMS)

As coronavirus infection rates continue to rise across the UK, could we be facing a full-scale second lockdown throughout the UK? And what might this mean for the intermediary market?

Of course, various local lockdowns have been imposed in a bid to clamp down on these soaring rates and we are all having to live with lingering covid-19 ramifications in some shape or form.

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Following the recent government announcement banning social gatherings of more than six people, people flocking to social media to raise concerns, seek clarity, generate memes or simply get S Club 7 trending for the first time in many years.

Now I do not have any stats to back this up, but I can only imagine that the use of social media has risen exponentially over the past six months, as has people’s continued reliance on technology.

Remote working has become embedded within the psyche of UK businesses and their workforce. This has resulted in a major shift in working practices with video conferencing, audio calls and instant messaging all having played key roles in keeping projects afloat across a variety of organisations.

A recent survey conducted by Information Age and Last Word Research revealed how effective tech solutions have been during lockdown. Over 90% of respondents said that the move to online communications had been positive, with only a few reporting issues.

And it was interesting to see which video conferencing platforms were favoured by the respondents. Microsoft Teams and Zoom took the top spots.

Perhaps one of the more well-known brands, Skype received the harshest feedback, with 15% of respondents ranking it in the lowest position, making it the least popular platform by far, followed by Google Meet at 10%.

As one of the earliest pioneers of online communications, and arguably one of the most dominant in recent years, these negative perceptions of Skype make for some thought-provoking insight and underline that tech is constantly evolving and how important it is for even the largest players not to get left behind.

Not to mention that being the provider with the biggest brand, profile and marketing spend does not necessarily make it the best fit for individual or business needs.

Technology and the communications sector are highly competitive industries and new entrants are appearing all the time with a range of new features to challenge established forces. Some established systems are not built with the capacity to grow and overcome legacy issues in a fast, seamless manner and new kids on the block can quickly usurp them with a new market offering if these are not careful.

Challenges will always appear for tech providers, it would be foolish of us not to realise this, and we have to constantly ask questions of our solution and seek feedback from users on how to improve it.

So, before you embark on a long-term relationship with your tech provider of choice, make sure they are in a position to meet your present needs and have the desire, expertise and capability to grow with your business and not get left behind by the competition.