Virtual Office – Telecommuting coming closer to reality

by World Wide Ed on Tuesday, September 1, 1998

When you think about the direction in which today’s technologies are headed, it is hard not to imagine a place that makes our everyday tasks simpler. Think about it. We have had automatic garage door openers and can openers for quite some time. They have already been accepted into the mainstream world and are rather common. Then, there are remote control car and home alarms. A little less common yet very accepted. Soon, the commonplace will be telecommuting -remote access and administration – and mobile paging, telephone, e-mail, faxing, scanning and copying integrated into one, nice package.

Imagine a world in which we can wake up at noon, go to all day meetings in our spiffy, new pajamas and pink bunny house slippers and not miss a beat. Where getting up at the rooster’s first peep, sporting your best aloha shirt/dress, driving your ozone-killing automobile through a congested H-1, arriving late to work and sitting in front of a computer is a thing of the past. Soon, many of us will no longer have to go anywhere. We will be able to communicate and receive whatever we need with the click of a mouse, push of a button or utterance of our voice.

How? Because today’s computers and mobile hand-held devices – thanks to the new advancements in technologies – are closing the gap between how we work and how we live. The travel to a physical office, for many, will become practically obsolete.

Let us look into some companies (on the web) who are developing the turnkey solutions that are going to take us into the next millenium.

Xerox’s web site (www.xerox.com) showcases a product called the Document HomeCentre, a multipurpose, multifunction peripheral for the intuitive family. It can make copies, scan images and prints documents, all in a 11 7/8″ (H) X 9 1/4″ (W) 17 3/8″ (L) body. Xerox also has a business counterpart called the Document WorkCentre 450C. Like the HomeCentre, the WorkCentre can print, scan and copy, but it can also do faxing. It can handle plain paper faxing, utilizing a telephone device port, as well as PC-based faxing. The true, big business solution though, is the DocumentCentre. Whereas the previous peripherals required some level of physical interaction, the DocumentCentre can be initiated and operated remotely.

How about mobile connectivity? Ikon Office Solutions (www.ikon.com) has the answer with their line of WinBEEP solutions. This wireless messaging solution uses Microsoft Windows as the platform to perform complex paging and messaging tasks. You can use WinBEEP to contact one or many pages at once, automate reminders of important dates/appointments to yourself and send messages to email inboxes. Ikon also offers a 2-way wireless solution for laptops, Windows CE and RIM pagers. These offer the flexibility of performing 2-way communication with email as well as faxing.

Servco Integrated Office Technology (www.servco-siot.com) also offers network devices that perform multifunctional tasks. Their showroom includes Canon’s GP200F as well as the Ricoh FT8000 series copiers. Canon’s GP200F integrates network printing, faxing and scanning, but more importantly, it is expandable, so when your business needs expand, so does the GP200F. Ricoh’s FT8000 series copiers handle the high-volume, copy-only type situations. These copiers make copying documents quick and easy with 80 copies per minute speeds. Other features include a touch-screen CRT (Cathode-Ray Tube), a “human sensor” (that illuminates when a user approaches it), and proof copying for previewing.

Each of these companies has a local division in Hawaii. If some of these solutions sound like a viable solution for your business, contact their local division. Soon, you’ll be able to start enjoying those afternoon sleep-ins. Just get rid of those bunny slippers won’t you?

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