Data Cap Management Poses Challenges

We called it a long time ago, and now it’s a reality. Internet service providers (ISPs) are capping data, and it couldn’t happen at a worse time. As we continue to work and learn at home, use cloud-based services for application programs and data storage retrieval – and stream more entertainment, we’re set up to use more data. You’re going to need to look at data bytes like you look at calories on a menu.

We all know that calorie counts on a restaurant menu don’t tell the full story. The calorie count for a salad may be low, but dressing may raise the total through the roof. Knowing how much data you’ll use to watch a standard-definition movie on a device of any kind won’t really help you a whole lot in planning your data usage for a month. In reality, you’ll want that visual salad dressing – HD or 4K resolution – to enjoy the quality of the experience. A movie that requires 600 to 700 mbps to watch can easily balloon to 4 Gigs.

What’s really ugly about it is that most households or small businesses have multiple users on their internet plans. We’re still not going back to the office in droves in anytime soon, and the same is true for kids going back to school – although that will likely happen faster. If you have a business and have employees logging into your network from home, they’re using your data while logged into your system. They’re also using their own data to log in.

In addition to logging in to work from home, kids are logging in for classes, collaborating with classmates and doing research. That uses data.

Everyone, no matter where they are, is using cloud-based software to run applications and work with files. We’re all using data, too, for email, web browsing, social media and entertainment. That last item is a major source of data use for families that have cut the cable TV cord. The more people you have streaming different content, the faster your data usage can run up – and up.

We have no problem with that; it’s a reality. But we do have a problem with the ISPs’ lack of transparency in sharing our data usage. You can’t easily find how much data you’ve used during a billing cycle so that you can manage it. The ISPs make it easier for their big-business customers to know how much data they use. They don’t do it for small businesses or residential users.

If you don’t know how close you are to your limit or if you’ve exceeded it, you can be in for a surprise. Either your service will drop down to a slower speed, which is not cool during a business meeting or class, or you’ll wind up with an extra charge on your bill.

As the cable companies lose traditional cable TV subscribers, they need to make up for lost revenue by fine-tuning how they price their data plans. That’s fine. We knew they’d come to data caps. We just want them to be more transparent about telling us what the caps are, letting us know when we’re close and giving us realistic options for managing our caps.

Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us if you have any questions about how to better manage your data use and monitoring at home or at the office.

A Time and a Place to be Connected

You are picking up your child! GET OFF YOUR PHONE!!!!

The message you see here hit one mother right between the eyes when she picked up her kids at a day care center outside Houston. She posted her reaction on Facebook to this sign, and it generated nearly 1.5 million shares. I say it’s a wake-up call to a disturbing trend.

Too many people just don’t know when to put their phones in their pockets – or close their connected devices. I find it disrespectful and representative of misplaced priorities.

The sign read:

“You are picking up your child! GET OFF YOUR PHONE!!!! Your child is happy to see you! Are you not happy to see your child??”

“We have seen children trying to hand their parents their work they completed and the parent is on the phone. We have heard a child say ‘Mommy, mommy, mommy…” and the parent is paying more attention to their phone than their own child. It is appalling. Get off your phone!!”

The sign and reaction of the mother were the subject of a Fox News report. The mother said she usually doesn’t have her phone when she picks up her children. But this time, it was in her hand. She said she thought the message was awesome and decided to snap the picture and post it on her Facebook page.

Naturally, there was some pushback. One Facebooker commented that she would pull her child out of a daycare center that posted a message like that, and another said her work keeps her on call.

I don’t what kind of work she does, but this strikes me as a misplaced priority. I know there are emergencies: work, family, disasters, etc. But I also know there can be a time when we need to put our phones away and give proper attention to our families – especially to the children whose lives we are shaping by our words and deeds.

So, I applaud the sign and the mother who posted it. And, I want to take it a step farther to talk about phones in places where they shouldn’t be used, such as houses of worship.

I am not an especially religious person, but I attend a synagogue in my community, and I am always shocked by the number of phones that are out. Sometimes, they are out inside the sanctuary, and that’s disrespectful of those who want to worship. I also see children and adults alike using their phones in the lobbies of their houses of worship, and I wonder why they just don’t go outside.

It’s equally disrespectful for people to use their phones during movies, concerts and plays – even if they are just texting. It disrupts everyone nearby, and in some cases, it can affect performers.

Yes, I know it’s good to have a phone handy to handle real emergencies, but you can keep a phone on vibrate, and you can leave the building if your attention is required by someone. That way, you can maintain respect for people and institutions. What do you think? Leave a comment or send us an email to let us know.