Category Archives: Telecommuting

BYOD becomes UYOD

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The latest buzz word is Bring Your Own Device.  BYOD presumes you travel to a central work location and bring your own device there….to work.

I am saying that term is already obsolete, or will be in the very near future.  If you can do your work with your own device, travelling up to 4 hours a day, in traffic, wasting gas, time and money to get to a central work location to use it…..this is, well, stupid.

From now on….Telecommuting, telework, coworking will explode:

Decentralized work will be the norm in the very near future.

I propose that Use Your Own Device (UYOD) is going to be the more appropriate term.

Mark my words…

Video Conferencing Consultant

Want YOUR product reviewed?  Go here.

Looking at video conferencing for your company?

Independent video conferencing consultant with 23+ years (yup…since the very beginning) of experience in real world video conferencing design, implementation, and administration can help you:

+ Help you understand video conferencing technology (from Telepresence to Mobile BYOD) and how you can implement video conferencing to maximize your productivity.

+ Separate the wheat from the chaff (i.e. understand your needs and pick the right vendor(s))

+ Design an architecture specific to your needs

+ Project Manage the installation / testing of your system(s).

+ Train your employees to run your video conferencing operation

+ Provide long term support

+Independently troubleshoot problems.  Work with vendor to fix.

My Resume

The Age of Decentralized Work is Upon Us

OK, people….here is the future.

If you have teens (or college age early 20’s kids) you have seen this….if you have younger kids….you WILL see it.  So hang in there….

Decentralization of work will happen.  Telecommuting / Telework will be the norm.  And, yes, mobile video conferencing WILL rule the world.

Here is why….

The kids of today are:  Computer and Internet savvy.  Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Tumblr, WHATEVER….keeps the kids of today interconnected in ways us old farts never could.

Distance is no longer a barrier.  Long distance relationships can happen.  Even sex….yeah, close your ears/eyes those of weak constitution.  Naked Skype is the best kind of Skype (my own opinion).  Don’t think it happens?  Well….you can go back to sleep.

All this INTERCONNECTIVITY will lead to one thing…..decentralization of work.

How did I get there from the above????

Well…..look at how the college kids of today work.  Remotely.  They get their assignments via the web.  They talk to their Professors remotely.  They collaborate with work teams via Skype (or ooVoo, or Google+, or whatever), they Skype with friends, they upload pictures / documents with wild abandon.

Do you think, the OFB’s (Old Fashioned Bosses) who still exist will reign them in when they go to work????  If you think so….think again.  The answer is NO!  And eventually, the kids will be in charge, and then…the world will be vastly different than what we now know.

No more commuting 2.5 hours (one way!!) to an office only to do exactly the same thing you could have started, and finished, 2.4 hours ago from home, Starbucks, B&N, a coworking location, McDonalds, etc.  Commuting (for those with the appropriate jobs) is STUPID, WASTEFUL, and UNPRODUCTIVE (is that redundant?).

The kids of today know this….we don’t.  We will find out, when we are suddenly out of touch and expendable.  🙂

The future is almost here….embrace it!

Sept 11 2001 and Video Conferencing

September 11, 2001 (Originally written for ForCarol.com)

Lori’s mother’s birthday started out just like any other day.  I was just getting up, Lori was already getting Kristen ready for school, Sunny (our currently 11 year old yellow lab who now has a tumor that is scaring us) was bouncing around as only he could do.

Lori had the TV on.

Suddenly, she yelled to me….”Mike…a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center”. Yikes!  We were just there the month before and took the picture shown below from the Ferry from New Jersey.

I thought to myself all the things that might have gone wrong.  I decided it was possible.  But then, as I watched, a SECOND plane barreled into the other tower!  OK, I read too many spy novels not to know what happened: terrorism.

In addition to having family in the New York City area, I also had ton of friends and colleagues.

Maybe I can help!  I turned on my computer in the study and started working.

Internet-based video conferencing was in it’s infancy in 2001.  We were still slightly less than 3 years away from announcing it as a service.  But it works, now….maybe we CAN help.

An email came in from a colleague at Columbia University asking for help to connect to the outside world.  I sprung into action.  It was “easy” for us at that time to connect virtually anyone with a decent Internet connection to anyone else via video (and audio).

I shot an email back telling Columbia University that we can help.  See this link and scroll down to 11:23 AM…I was the FIRST.  

I can do this.  ESnet can do this.  I called the people at Accord (at the time they were our MCU-multipoint control unit) and spent time figuring out how exactly to get done what I knew could be done.

We did it!  Yes!  We were ready, and all Columbia needed to do was use ESnet video conferencing to make telephone calls if they needed it.

The days passed, our family members were all safe, and I experienced an immense sense of loss (and un-real-ness) that I had not felt again until Sept 18, 2010 when we lost Carol (that day the horrible feeling of loss came back….1000 times worse and remains to this day).

These are very tough days.  I am not looking forward to the next week or so (Sept 9 (60 years), 11 (10 years), 18 (1 year)).  Now Sunny. Our world can calm down…please…

911 taught me that in an emergency: telecommuting works and so does video conferencing via the Internet.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

Free Advice on How to Start a Telecommuting / Telework Program

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Originally published on AltamontCowork.com


OK, companies…here is the free advice on how to start a telecommuting program at your place of work.

Ready? You sure?

OK….

It ain’t rocket science…..do it. DUH.

  • Give your employee a task with a deadline.
  • Let them work on it anyplace, anytime.
  • Remotely connect with them, everyday if you have to, via any of the millions of ways you can connect in 2011 (video, voice, data).
  • When the deadline rolls around, ask this question: “Is the task complete?”
  • If the answer is “Yes”…you have successfully implemented a telecommuting program. On to the next task.
  • If the answer is “No”….then that employee failed (or you did) try the same with another employee.
  • Oh yeah…set up a really nice retirement package for the Old Fashioned Bosses (OFB) who insist that people are not working unless they are seen by the OFB, and make them take it. Get them out of the way…

COMPANIES: If you are spending thousands and thousands of dollars studying telecommuting, developing rules and regulations for a program, setting up milestones, goals, and tests, etc…..YOU ARE WASTING YOUR MONEY.

Follow my rules…it’s cheaper.

🙂

Telecommuting = Coworking = Telework

BlueJeans Network: Cloud Video Conferencing

Ah yes, I remember it well.  I remember the day when I had to order an ISDN line at home (remember 2B+D?) to attend a videoconference from home (hey…I practice not just preach telecommuting!).

Then, what seems like a short time later (and after ATM and Token Ring fell by the wayside…) we set-up pretty close to the first (Dr. Bob and Tim Poe were right there with us) H.323 videoconferencing network (which grew to be the largest IP-based video conferencing network in the world for a time, at ESnet).  THAT was FUN!  We played with (yes, technology is FUN!) gatekeepers, QCIF (the old timers know) MCU’s, newly developed numbering plans, evolving H.323 endpoints, and Clint and I running it all with military precision.  Yeah right…

The picture to the left shows the old way…our way.

The very expensive MCU, Gatekeeper and H.323 endpoints (I left out a Gateway to ISDN…since well, ISDN is dead) required Clint and I to keep it all running, configured, etc etc. Some companies have a whole team of people.  Lots of money invested, and you have to have a beefy Internet / Intranet to boot.  More money.

BUT…the results were ground-breaking-ly awesome (for the time).

Again time passed all too swiftly, and now people are talking about the “cloud” (just another name for the Internet), your damn cell phones can do video conferencing, and now one company, BlueJeans Network, tells us that they are doing “video conferencing via the cloud”.

Hmmmm, so now, Clint and I are gone (actually, we are!) replaced by a company out there on the Internet with a bunch of Clints and Mikes taking care of some amorphous infrastructure cloud that connects all these cell phones, Skype, the old H.323 stuff, and telepresence fancy dancy rooms together easy as 3.14???!!!

FREAKIN AWESOME! Except for the fact Clint and I are out of jobs…..hmmmm..

Note: I actually tested BlueJeans when they were asking for help.  I referred them to several of MY old customers so they could put BlueJeans through it’s paces, where I could not (being a starving blogger and coworking location owner.).

Now BlueJeans has been released and open to anyone.   Go here to see the cost.

Imagine:  Small businesses, independents, freelancers, can now have the same video conferencing capabilities that only the huge companies could afford only a few short years ago.  And, to me, best of all, your GrandMa or brother in the Navy can connect to you at your H.323 conference room at work via Skype from the ship or porch.

VERY cool!

Here is a sweet video that explains the BlueJeans Network concept:

Summary

For the ten billionth time, I repeat:  Video conferencing ANYTIME, ANYPLACE, ANYONE.

If you have to drive to participate in a video conference…that is, hmmm, s-t-u-p-i-d….DUH.

BlueJeans rocks!  I wish them the best!

🙂

Information Technology

The world is changing. Rapidly.

Bits are flying over the Internet at an unprecedented pace.

As my loyal reader…..you know my feelings about Cisco and video conferencing, but, it looks to me as though they are getting back to focusing on handling bits….a very good thing.  For everyone!

This commercial by Cisco is interesting.  I LOVE the part where they say that you do not need to be in the office to be productive.

DUH.   Telecommuting = Coworking = Telework

Comments?

Dare I say it?   Cisco rocks?   Ouch….that hurt…. 🙂

Oh yeah…the bridge at the end is awesome…again, back to cisco’s roots.

Workers Would Take a Pay Cut to Telecommute

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Here is an interesting article from the folks at CNET about IT pros willing to take pay cuts to telecommute.

You know I could say a lot about the managers who are “reluctant” to allow telecommuting.  But I’ll be nice….and not call them idiots in this blog entry.  RETIRE!  Get out of the way you old geezer (I can say that ’cause I are one)….get with the 2011 world….DUH.

#Telecommuting = #Coworking = #Telework

Participate in TeleWork Week

I got an email today from the TeleWork Exchange.

There will be a TeleWork Week in February that you and your company can pledge to participate in.  Here is a snippet of the email.

Pledge to telework during Telework Week, a nationwide effort to encourage agencies, organizations, and individuals to telework on February 14-18, 2011.

More than 3,600 people have already pledged to telework, saving more than $260,000 in commuting costs during Telework Week.

Contribute to Telework Week – visit www.teleworkexchange.com/teleworkweek to pledge today and learn more about cost savings, commuter, and environmental benefits of this important initiative. It’s free to pledge.

Go green, give your car a rest, and pledge to telework during Telework Week.

For more information and to pledge to telework, click here.

It is time to get off the roads!!!

Increase productivity, save money, save gas, reduce stress, help save the environment. There are so many positives to telecommuting / telework / coworking that it should be a NO BRAINER for those of us with jobs that are amenable to remote work.  But remember this: telecommuting / telework / coworking  is NOT a privilege or gift to the employee….it benefits both the employer and employee so both should be equally interested in implementing telecommuting / telework / coworking.

And the technology to virtually be at work is here and super easy to implement.  Video conferencing, video chat, video call, whatever you choose to call it, your OFB (Old Fashioned Boss) can now see the whites of your eyes right on his or her desk no matter where you are working.  At home, at Starbucks, at the airport, at the library, or at your local coworking location.

Speaking of OFB’s….they really need to retire.  These are the people stopping progress.  These are the people who think you are not working unless they can see you.  How stupid.  Of course you are working, but, you are also working on your Farms, Cities, and making new “Friends”.  Here is news for you OFB:  All of this “work” is happening under your sharp eye, fooled you.

The NEW bosses will give the employee a task.  They will give the employee a deadline to complete that task.  And they won’t give a shit where that work gets done.  THAT is the new order, the way work will be done in the future.

But why wait?  Do it now.

Be progressive, be an original thinker, dare to be different.

Pledge to TeleWork / Telecommute / Cowork for a week in February….experience the benefits firsthand.

Oh yeah:  Telecommuting = Coworking = TeleWork

See all my articles on Telecommuting here.

Telecommuting / Telework Bill Passed

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This article in the Washington Post tells us that today, a bi-partisian (who’d a thunk that could happen?) proposed bill to allow more Federal Gov’t workers to work at home or at other locations (like COWORKING!) was passed and will now go to President Obama for his signature.   Since he has been pushing for this, I am hopeful this will become law.

Don’t be confused:  Telecommuting = Coworking = Telework.   I don’t care what the semantics lovers say….it’s all the same…you work from a remote location.  Period.

Here is a snippet from the Washington Post article (so you can stay here and increase my view count):

“The measure requires federal agencies to develop policies allowing employees to work remotely unless their positions are specifically excluded (that means you, doctors, police officers, lab technicians, park rangers, etc.).

Telework now must become part of an agency’s contingency plans for emergency or weather situations, such as the snowstorms or potential terrorist attacks. Each agency also must also designate a telework managing officer to oversee its teleworking program.

The Obama administration and employee organizations have pushed for greater teleworking opportunities for employees, citing concerns about the continuity of government and potential cost savings. Unions note that the government saved about $30 million from employees who worked from home during this year’s historic Washington-area snowstorms.

The General Services Administration estimates that if federal workers telecommuted at least one day per week, agencies could increase productivity by more than $2.3 billion annually. Agencies also could save money on electricity, office supplies and office space.”

Now..all we need is for California to get smart..but I won’t hold my breath out here in the car loving, commute loving, road building, Golden State.

One more snippet and piece of advice for the OFB’s who contributed to this paragraph:

“But some government managers remain skeptical of the program, citing an unwillingness to manage employees they literally can’t see at the office.”

My Advice:  TIME TO RETIRE OFB!  Make room for smart people who care about the FUTURE.