For as long as I can remember, we have been promised "mobile working" or the "virtual office" – the ability to work anywhere, any time -, but somehow it never quite took shape. At last, though, technology seems to be catching up with the promises.
I’m writing this sitting in a client’s office. My meeting has been delayed and I haven’t got a laptop with me, so normally I wouldn’t have had much choice except to pick up the copy the Financial Times laid out in the waiting area for visitors.
Instead, though, I’m sitting at a public PC thoughtfully supplied by the client. I logged in on their wireless hotspot using my Boingo account – which finally gives me a single subscription and single log on for thousands of hotspots around the world from a range of suppliers. I then logged into m online office applications to draft a document for another client, uploaded it to Basecamp so the client can access it, then logged into Typepad to express my excitement.
On the way home I’m thinking of dropping into my local PC superstore to pick up a network-attached drive which will allo me to store all my files on a server that I can access from any internet-connected PC.
Of course, it’s not all rosy. I had to rewrite this post because the system timed me out initially. Also, there just aren’t enough open-access PCs available. Second, there’s always a niggling doubt about PC security. Finally, web-based applications are not yet up to the standard of desktop applications.
But these are minor points, and the truth is that we are probably 90% of the way there. I’m not yet at the point where I can stop carrying a laptop, but the bag already feels a lot lighter 🙂