Archive for the ‘The Cloud’ Category
One of the biggest reasons for the growth in Out of Office work is the Cloud – in other words, having your stuff on the Internet rather than on local computers or internal networks. In his article “On cloud nine: 9 arguments for the cloud”, Andrew Timms lists nine benefits of the Cloud for businesses in general, even without taking the Out of Office angle:
- Cost Efficiency
- Business Continuity
- Flexible Work Arrangements
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership
- Added Security
- Less On-Call Requirements
- Reduced Maintenance Work
- Increased Operational Efficiency
Despite the explosive growth of cloud computing, few organisations are using it effectively for collaboration, especially with their Out of Office workers. In this episode, we share some practical tools to foster online collaboration.
Listen to the episode here:
Research and Notes
Calendars and Appointments
- Podio (replacement for internal e-mail)
- Online meeting tools: Skype, Google Hangout, GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining, WebEx, MS-Lync
- Support for online meetings: Bubbl.us (mind mapping), Padlet.com (bulletin board)
- Online Forums: Yammer (like a private Facebook group for business), Ning (like private Facebook)
- Basecamp.com (project management)
- Support ticket systems like Bugzilla, Trac, JIRA
Cloud Computing is the foundation for successful Out of Office work environments. When data, applications and even hardware are stored “in the Cloud”, it makes it so much easier for workers to be more flexible, portable and effective away from the office.
If you’re responsible for implementing Cloud Computing in your organisation, you’ll be interested in this Knowledge@Wharton interview Up in the Cloud: Hype and High Expectations for Cloud Computing. It’s broader than just talking about Out of Office work (which of course is how it should be), but understanding the broader issues will make it easier for you to support and manage Out of Office work as well.
More than half of Australian adults use smartphones, and their use doubled in the year to May 2012, according to a report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The report, entitled “Smartphones and tablets: Take-up and use in Australia”, also found a dramatic increase in tablets.
The key infrastructure drivers for this growth include the continued rollout of mobile network upgrades, growth in 4G coverage and the increased use of WiFi hotspots.
This is particularly significant for many Out of Office workers. The obvious beneficiaries are Digital Nomads, who can now find it easier than ever before to work from anywhere. But it also applies to many other types of workers, particularly those who travel for work or commute to work.
Without doubt, cloud computing is the biggest technology factor facilitating Out of Office work styles. But many people don’t understand it well, and that could prevent it being used to full effect.
The IT consultancy firm Ovum, as part of its “2013 Trends to Watch” series, wrote three reports about cloud computing, its effects and uses. This material is available to subscribers only, but Anthill Online has generously summarised the key principles for us. Read the Anthill article “All you wanted to know about cloud computing and didn’t know how to ask” for more – and for links to the original Ovum reports as well.
Venture capitalist Mary Meeker recently published the following presentation about Internet Trends:
Even though it’s quite lengthy and not directly related to Out of Office work I still found it very interesting.
In particular, the growth of mobile Internet technologies and Cloud computing have been exponential to date, and still have significant room for further growth! Both of these technologies are enablers of the Out of Office work style. So, promising times ahead.
Please leave a comment below if there are any other trends you consider significant.
On-line collaboration has some things in common with face-to-face collaboration, but it also has some important differences. If you and your team are working this way for the first time, you might not be aware of the potential pitfalls. In this episode, we share our six principles of on-line collaboration, and then work through a case study.
Listen to the podcast here:
Google’s long-anticipated Cloud-storage service Google Drive has been officially launched. The first 5GB of storage is free, with upgrades to 25GB offered for $US2.50 per month. Google Drive is currently available for PCs, Macs and Android devices with support for the iPhone/iPad in the pipeline. Google also plan to integrate Drive with their Chrome Cloud-based operating system. Drive integrates with other Google services such as GMail, Google+ and Google Docs.
How Google Drive will fair alongside established Cloud-storage providers such as Dropbox and Box.net, Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Apple’s iCloud remains to be seen.
If you have a Google account then you may already have access to Drive. If so give it a go and let us know your impressions by leaving a comment below. You can also see a preview in Google’s promotional video below.
My Google Drive is available so I’ve been using it for a couple of days. I installed the Andriod app on my tablet and it gave me direct access to my Google Docs collections. Linux isn’t supported yet so I don’t have access to Google Drive from my PC, except via my Web browser.
If you’ve embraced the Out of Office work style, you’re probably using the Cloud on a daily basis as a large part of your work environment. MIS Asia has a list of “10 must-have tools for cloud power users”. This is not a list of things for the beginner, but a list of things that will make your life easier if you’re already using the Cloud extensively.
It includes things like using Gmail offline, synchronising your PC with Google Docs, and Boomerang (a tool for scheduling e-mail in advance).
We're bombarded with more information than ever before. We’ve always had to manage the flow of information through our “pipeline”, by (a) filtering what comes in, (b) processing it more efficiently and (c) doing more with it. The Cloud can play an important part now, in two key ways: If information is not already in the Cloud we can store it there before processing it; and if we publish information to the Cloud as soon as possible (without hoarding it on our hard disks), we free up the overload and make it usable by others sooner.
In this podcast, we discuss a number of the tools we use for managing our personal productivity using the Cloud – including Gmail, Google Docs, Dropbox, Evernote, Kindle, Ubuntu1, YouTube, and Read It Later.
Listen to the podcast here:
Here’s an overview of the principles we discuss:
Broadly, we talk about these things:
- Choose what comes in:
What? (Fill Depth): Choose whether to get overview, detailed or somewhere in between
How? (Switch Channel): Choose between reading, watching, listening
- Choose how you process it:
When? (Shift Time): File in the Cloud for consuming later
Where? (Keep Space): File in the Cloud for consuming anywhere
- Choose where you publish: Use the Internet as your filing system – e.g. blog, tweet
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