Tuesday, January 22, 2008

For mobile workers, office location not important

Doing office work does not necessarily translate to working in an office, which in the conservative sense is a building or a room where business activities are conducted. Professionals of this day and age can do their assignments anywhere, such as at a cafe or a mall. For mobile workers, meeting a client, negotiating or even getting in touch with clients all over the world can be done from a coffee shop.

For Irfan Setiaputra, an employee of Cisco, an IT company, working does not necessarily mean being stationed at a particular location. Relying on the Internet, he can establish communication with fellow employees, customers, suppliers and business partners. He can use the Instant Message facility to communication with many people on an online basis and get a quick response. Email is his main tool of communication in his work. Even when his computer is not within reach, he can send and receive emails through his cell phone or PDA.

In addition, at Cisco Systems there is a Unified Communications facility. In cooperation with Hewlett-Packard (HP), all professionals at Cisco can make use of this technology. They can make a phone call through the softphone in their computer and video pictures can appear on the IP Phone, a handset that can be used as an IP phone through Wi-Fi and at the same time as GSM, to receive voice mail, etc.

In advanced countries, UC is a popular technology that was introduced in Indonesia four years ago. UC is a technology that make use of the superior elements of an IP-based phone system as well the convergence of data and audio networks. This system can present not only voice communications but also unified messaging, a feature allowing mobile connectivity. This means integrating communications from the various media that people use.

Separately, Cisco Systems Indonesia has announced an increase in the wireless capacity in its ISR (Integrated Services Router) with 3G connectivity addition. This solution is part of the architecture of the Internet Protocol of Next Generation Network (IP-NGN), which makes it possible for service providers to offer 3G connectivity to their corporate customers.

This technology enables companies with a lot of branch offices to hold teleconferences. Branch offices generally require access to the business applications available at the head office through a Wide Area Network (WAN). However, the main constraint for the application of this technology in Indonesia is that the equitable scope of 3rd-generation wireless technology is yet to be achieved.

In fact, today's work demands do not entail where we work but, rather, what activities we carry out. This is true not only of Cisco. Working does not depend on office space as with the progress of technology we can do it just about anywhere. Although his office is located in Kebon Sirih, Jakarta, Bayu Guntaryo, for example, can work from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi hotspot, such as a cafe.

Bayu is a layout designer offering his services through the Internet under a bidding system. His clients come from anywhere in the world. What exists here is a relationship between a service user and a service provider. That's why he has a number of devices that support his work.

The devices that a professional working under the virtual office concept needs include:

1) Notebook. Besides being mobile and dynamic, today's professional must be able to response instantly to satisfy customers. To this end, a notebook must have complete facilities for communications and networks. While in the past it was enough for a notebook to have an internal modem & IrDa (Infra Red), today, a notebook usually has LAN-Card (ethernet), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Even a Flybook has a built-in GSM (via GPRS) module.

2) Mobile phone. Although this is a common piece of equipment these days, a mobile worker should have a mobile phone that can be used as a GPRS/CDMA modern for times when there is no cable LAN network or Wi-Fi in a particular area. If you just want to browse a simple website, you can do so via your SmartPhone but when you must send data, which is more complex in nature and of a large size, through an e-mail, a laptop is still the first choice.

3) PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), which is small, light and always on, so that professionals can work to the optimum with this device. The main function of a PDA is to manage tasks and schedule, but you can also use it to look for information on the Internet.

To have a complete range of equipment is the dream of every mobile worker. However, there is more fun in it when the functions of all these devices have been converged in just one device alone. Carrying a device that has various functions is very practical, especially because technology-wise this trend continues to strengthen. (Eddy P. Kasdiono)

The Jakarta Post, January 22, 2008

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