“Work is what we do, not where it is done.”
This last line from the Cisco Report “Work-Life Innovation: The Role of Networked Technologies” certainly encapsulates the impact that Unified Communications solutions and Networked Technologies have on the way we work and live today. Now your work can be wherever you are, on any device.
However, when you can truly work from anywhere, you may find that means you’re working all the time. In the blog “How Technology Helps Balance Work and Home Life” we provided tips on how to maintain balance through “Smart Work”. This is the use of emerging technologies such as mobile solutions, TelePresence and Collaboration tools to allow people to take more control over their work and personal lives.
In this post we discuss the most significant technologies that provide smarter ways of working and living, as outlined in the Work-Life Innovation Report from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG).
These days everyone is talking about “The Cloud”. Cloud computing is “delivering infrastructure, services, and software on demand via the network.” By using the cloud, organizations and their employees can access a variety of software, tools and business systems from anywhere.
While cloud computing delivers benefits such as lower total cost of ownership and improved productivity through greater accessibility, there are also concerns about security, reliability, regulations and controls that must be addressed. Since the cloud is already permeating our work and personal lives, organizations need to develop strategies to embrace the benefits of more efficient information management while mitigating security concerns.
In the traditional work space, devices like desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets, were all owned and maintained by the organization. Today, the concept of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) is increasingly common. This has been fueled by the reality that the number of connected devices has exploded in recent years, freeing workers from fixed work spaces. Now whether at home, in the office or a collaborative workspace—we can access information, interact, and get things done.
Given this environment, employers are realizing that “having separate devices for work and personal use is neither practical nor sustainable.” Many are exploring ideas such as allowing employees to choose and use their own devices, but there are still considerations of security, system access and overall productivity to be addressed.
“Sixty-one percent of participants in the Cisco Connected World Technology Report indicated that they do not need to be in the office to be productive.” That means the workspace can be at home, in a coffee shop, sitting in a park or waiting for a flight. The increasing number of devices plus the endless possibilities for places to use them means there is a need to link the devices and workplaces. To meet this need, a number of applications have been developed:
- Personal Travel Assistant (PTA) was developed in 2009 by Cisco ISBG and the cities of Seoul and Amsterdam, and offers “citizens and employers more flexibility in their daily work environments by providing smart working options throughout urban areas.”
- W-WORK from the Netherlands is a “booking platform for reserving meeting rooms and workspaces.”
- WorkSnug is an “augmented-reality application that applies location-based services to connect mobile workers to the nearest and best places to work in major cities worldwide.”
To address the need for connecting dispersed workers, many new online collaboration spaces and tools are being developed. These new platforms include Enterprise Social Software (ESS) “to aggregate content and applications for individual work profiles.” One such tool is Cisco WebEx Social (formerly Cisco Quad) which includes ESS, collaboration, content management, and video.
In the new “work anywhere” environment, security issues have never been more important. BYOD, social networking, cloud services, document sharing, video applications and more have made it necessary to not only secure an organization’s physical infrastructure, but ensure that security is available in all locations and across all devices.
The applications that are used to create a Smart Work environment such as collaboration tools, video and cloud-based services require a high-bandwidth infrastructure. However, high-speed broadband is still not available for users worldwide, especially in developing countries. As the idea of Smart Work continues to grow, so does the demand for high-speed access. While wireless frequencies such as WiMAX and satellite can deliver connectivity in areas not served by broadband, a study on broadband quality states “…we are in the second phase of broadband quality requirements, which will accelerate through 2015.”
Are you working in a “Smart Work” environment? What are your favorite productivity tools? Share your story below or visit our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/KBZCommunications
Veronica Culver is the Director of Corporate Marketing at KBZ, responsible for all corporate and partner communications, PR, social media, digital marketing, website management, and webinars. She’s also a food blogger and photographer. Connect with her on Twitter: @VeronicaCulver