Skype outage is worse than a tube strike – Op Ed

What is more destructive? A disobedient collection of militant, trade union card-carrying London Underground employees who regularly take industrial action, causing the City of London, the world’s largest and most sophisticated institutional financial center, great cost due to the inability of brokers, bank executives and urbane financial services executives to actually reach their offices, or […]

What is more destructive? A disobedient collection of militant, trade union card-carrying London Underground employees who regularly take industrial action, causing the City of London, the world’s largest and most sophisticated institutional financial center, great cost due to the inability of brokers, bank executives and urbane financial services executives to actually reach their offices, or a day without Skype?

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Today, for the first time in memory, Skype experienced global network disruption, causing a large percentage of its users not to be able to use it, and herein lies the proof that in today’s technologically advanced financial sector, problems with network traffic are worse than problems with physical traffic as instant messaging has become the defacto method of communication between many global firms.

Just what has the cost to global business been today as a result of the Skype outage? For those who were less affected, the technical malady manifested itself in all contacts being displayed as being offline, even though they are logged into Skype, however many users were unable to use voice or written messaging facilities.

In the retail FX business, many FX brokerages use Skype to maintain close contact with introducing brokers – or IBs – internationally. Without this medium, one day’s work lost can mean the difference between securing deposits from clients or not, therefore this apparently innocuous, free application is indeed an instrumental part of the business for many firms.

tube strike skype outage

Whilst outages of this magnitude are rare indeed, today’s service disruption has demonstrated how dependent the online ecommerce business sectors are on interactive, free messaging services.

The well worn adage and tongue in cheek suggestion that a London Underground train is unable to arrive at its platform on time (if at all) due to a leaf on the track, more seriously, an industrial dispute, may well raise a smile in these times of ability to work remotely and contact global key partners at any time, free of charge, however it is most certainly less amusing when the virtual equivalent occurs on the worldwide web.

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