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Read and Respond to What the EDS Fellows Say About Technology

EDS' Next Big Thing Blog: Read and Respond to What the EDS Fellows Say About Technology
For centuries the workers of the world have had to locate within commuting distance of their work. It was necessary because their work could hardly travel to where they lived. Not anymore. The paradigm of moving work to people rather than moving people to work is being adopted more and more by progressive companies who understand that there are benefits that devolve both to the enterprise as well as to employees.

For the employee working at a remote location, telework provides for a choice in lifestyle, living where they want to live, as well as reduction in time (and energy) spent commuting. According to the US census, the average worker spends more than 100 hours a year commuting. During this time they consume approximately 150 gallons of gasoline, which in these days of $3 per gallon of gas is about $500 of after tax income.

For the enterprise, telework allows for greater diversity in the organization, drawing upon individuals from many cultures and perspectives regardless of location. Diversity of perspective usually allows for more ideas in a shorter period of time - a more innovative and productive environment. It also provides the opportunity to reduce costs on office space and other fixed costs. Virtual presence enables easier movement of work between locations based upon time zones. As new work locations start their day, they can be brought into the enterprise processes unnoticed by the end user. Jet Blue has been known for using this technique for its customer support.

One of the areas the IT industry is focusing on is Unified Communications. This involves the use of Voice-over IP technologies (VoIP) to provide transparent access to individuals over voice, messaging and video. In the past the data and voice networks were managed and accessed separately. We are moving into an age where information delivery is taking place over the same mechanism regardless of format, based on standards like Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).SIP can be used to create two-party, multiparty, or multicast sessions that include Internet telephone calls, multimedia distribution, and multimedia conferences and is the basis for most VoIP products and services.

Unified communications is becoming the de facto source for information about the context of the individual: where they are located, what role they're playing, what they've worked on in the past, as well as their availability. The focus will with employee identity at the core. Once an organization makes the transition to the approach it will enable:

- Better access to experts - Pools of expertise can be defined within the enterprise and that pool can be addressed directly. Anyone within that pool can respond as they are available. This will reduce the constraints upon the individual. This pooling approach will also allow for the distribution of work in automated workflows.

- Reduced response time to events - When an event takes place where a decision needs to be made or assistance given, the enterprise can draw upon the context information to send it to the people who are actually available to respond. Escalation techniques can be defined so that response time can be defined and controlled more effectively than ad-hoc relationship based approaches.

- Reduced travel costs - As organizations begin to develop a common understanding of how to access an individual, it will not matter if the person is in the same building, on the same continent or working at home. They are represented in the enterprise in a simple and consistent way that can be accessed reliably.

- Accelerated project delivery - Knowing how to find individuals or groups with equivalent capabilities removes latency from projects. Being able to find the status of the people on the project and pull together a conference call on the fly and reach a consensus quickly will improve the agility of organizations and reduce time to market.

- Greater control over IP - In order to facilitate the information flow for the environment described, more sophisticated controls will be required and everyone will benefit.

When combined with workflow techniques that capture the context of the enterprise and role based security, the work environment can be made responsive while still environmentally conscious. All of this will enable an enterprise to reduce the latency in the decision making process and accelerate value generation.

One additional element of "Virtually There" merits mention - if alternative work arrangements become prevalent in a location, the infrastructure necessary to support the community can be undersized to that which would normally need to be in place. Fewer roads = more vegetation to process CO2, less solar absorption, less energy needed to make the concrete that makes the roads, etc. etc. etc. Moving work to people rather than moving people to work has benefits on many levels. ***


# Posted by Jayesh Kapoor Tuesday, March 04, 2008 2:47 PM
Excellent post !! I myself am a big proponent of telework and am constantly on the lookout for technologies that can make this happen.

I wonder if there is any formal study done on the comparative environmental impacts of "getting work to people" vs. "getting people to work". At a gut feel level, it seems obvious that there are less environmental impacts if people were not traveling to work. However, what about the impacts of all the technology (and the materials involved for it) that are needed to deliver the data bits to a worker's home. What really is the impact here? The question is more relevant for my country "India", where home access is still not at a level to allow seamless productive work from home and a lot of technology infrastructure needs to be improved / put in place to make that happen. I would be really interested in seeing a formal comparison.

On the technology front, I recently checked out Cisco's telepresence solution. Seems really impressive, but looks like it requires quite a bit of infrastructure investment and not yet "home ready".

# Posted by Charlie Bess Tuesday, March 04, 2008 8:42 PM
We usually talk about this as moving bits not atoms. There are a number of good technologies out there to facilitate this. Cisco does have an impressive solution.

Currently the infrastructure requirements are a bit high to use this effectively, but like everything else it will diminish over time. ***

by Charlie Bess
Read and respond to what the EDS Fellows have to say about the future of technology on EDS' Next Big Thing Blog on
Virtual Presence and Green IT


Jet Blue Rocks!

It’s been a while since I’ve flown Jet Blue, but now as I sit on my sixth of seven flights this week I have to say this may be the best coach experience I’ve ever had. I’m sitting by the window which is only ever my choice for a red eye, and I can’t believe how much room there is here. Even the middle seat looks decent here … I’ve got ample room to my side and the leg room is amazing. The plane, an Airbus 320, seems new and clean as these things tend to go. The tray table is both full size and adjustable so you can legitimately do some work if the need arises. I love it! Traveling is enough of a pain without being squeezed into a crappy seat without basic comforts.

I’ve been on AirTran, Delta and American so far with a return from Palm Beach on AirTran again on Sunday. The middle seats I was jammed into on my two American legs to and from Chicago were far too snug and the tray table was hard to get away from for the typing I needed to get in … Even on the N810 with Stowaway. I can lean forward without touching the seat in front of me, and I would not even care of the seat reclined all the way in my direction.

DirecTV is a bonus for me as I don’t usually watch the video (with audio) except on longer haul flights.. Tonight I’ve enjoyed some of the NCAA Womens’s National Swimming Championships as well as some of 16 Candles while listening to Hot Chip, MGMT, Radiohead and Tom Middleton on the Zune.

All told a very solid flight experience. If it’s at all possible to work JetBlue into my plans I’m certainly going to try.

Al // Mar 1, 2008 at 8:09 am
Hey Jon. Thanks for the info on Jetblue. I will be flying with them this summer. BTW Did you say “ZUNE”? :-)

2 Jonathan Greene // Mar 2, 2008 at 7:32 pm
Al - anytime … and I did indeed say Zune! Been enjoying the 8GB flash model for a few weeks now… very seriously considering the 80GB version to take advantage of the subscription

3 David // Mar 4, 2008 at 9:53 am
I only fly jetBlue. After a while you start to notice how other airlines suck compared to jet Blue.***

by Charlie Bess

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