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12.07.2009

Connectivity and the WorkPlace

It has been some time since I last worked in an office with zero Internet connectivity.

We just moved into a new office which is literally just a box with nice white walls and some spare desk parts with no phone line, no fax, or furniture, let alone any form of LAN.

Some of my colleagues have their own e-Mobile or Softbank data cards and are happily tapping away, while I read my emails on my mobile phone. Just because the "land line" is not yet available, it does not mean that we are not connected.

HTC has recently launched the first ever Android enabled mobile phone in Japan. It sits along side the limited edition white Blackberry bold and other business phones classified as "FOMA professional series phones" which are full browser business phones - some with a full key board and others with a qwerty keyboard. A whole host of Android enabled phones are scheduled to hit the market in spring summer 2010, so gadgets and trends magazine Nikkei Trendy suggested to readers that they wait till all the other players have come out to play before opening one's wallet.

I also just read in Nikkei Trendy that there is a phone whose LCD screen can be separated from the keyboard as a touch phone on its own. This and quite a number of other mobile phones also work as a connectivity tool for laptops in public WAN areas like Starbucks or McDonald's. So much seems to be changing in mobile devices these days in the ever high-specs loving Japanese market.

My team and I are sharing each other's calendars on Google calendar, we share sensitive documents on Google documents, and when we are all working remotely, we have Skype team chats or teleconferences.

When we discussed purchasing of applications and software today, Lotus Notes or Outlook were not the topic - rather, we had to decide if we wanted to buy a mail server or use hosted webmail services. Another factor that determined what server we invested in was based on whether the senior management team were to go on iPhones or use business phones (that does not have any imode connectvity - a major set back in features in Japan today).

Though Pitney Bowes claims that the use of email has only increased the amount of paper used in the average office, surprisingly, only the financial controller demanded that we get a printer a.s.a.p. Everyone else looked at her like: you mean you actually print stuff?

But even she was telling us how she will be utilizing online banking as opposed to spending time at the local bank branch.

By the end of tomorrow, we are hoping to be fully equipped with desks and chairs and have some LAN access. I hope that does not mean that people start emailing and chatting with each other online rather than to get up and talk to someone face to face.

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