Broadband is Productivity

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
Peter
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Broadband is Productivity

I think that broadband has made some people "too connected". Between twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, text messages, etc. When do you get a recess? But for those that can in fact walk away from the tech and live a normal life, broadband allows for increased productivity.

If you think I am making this up, Broadband Properties magazine has a nice article with supporting facts. BBP wrote about a study done in Iowa between one city that built out a FTTx network and the neighboring town that did not.  Fiber city wins in taxes, jobs, and home values in 3 years. Now, BBP is disclosing that, "A 2005 study in rural West Virginia found that firms with broadband were 14 to 17 percent more productive than firms of the same age without access to broadband."  (I guess you would have to define productive.)

We hear a lot about Virtual Office. But tele-work saves companies money.  BBP writes, "IBM, a third of whose employees work from home, reports annual savings of $110 million from telework. AT&T estimated $180 million yearly savings with about 30 percent of managers in virtual offices." Furthermore, "Study after study shows that telework saves money for the corporation. A survey last year by the Yankee Group found that "employees rated working from home the number one thing their employers could do to make them more productive."  Why? "About one-fifth of AT&T's documented savings came from reduced real estate costs. But beyond reducing the need for office space, telecommuting also reduces losses from employee absenteeism. With a telecommuting setup, employees can still do some work while they are at home sick or caring for a sick child. More importantly, they aren't tempted to come to the office while they are ill and spread germs to their coworkers."  Which, during a pandemic scare like swine and bird flus, would seem like Reason # 1 for Virtual Offices.  However, not every employee will flourish at home full-time. There is a social aspect to going to the office that many thrive on. Others need the supervision and the environmental pressure to get work done. Many managers do not have the skills to supervise virtual workers.

"Telecommuting is also an important part of a business continuity strategy." A distributed workforce means that your business can continue. And many employees stoire files locally not on the server, so you will have incidental back-ups. But if designed correctly with redundant data centers and full back-ups, your business would continue unabated in a disaster or pandemic.

Then there's the word that always comes up in a productivity talk: Collaboration. "Workers must now be prepared to collaborate with remote offices, suppliers and customers all across the globe."  Web 2.0, broadband, social networks, and VoIP have enabled this nexus point for businesses. America has a service economy, which means bricks-and-mortar offices aren't needed. This also means that even small businesses can compete for top talent anywhere in the world.

The final piece of the puzzle is Tele-Presence. "A new report by the Aberdeen Group, "Being in Two Places at Once," advises enterprises to look at video as a business tool, not just a communications tool." The BBP sidebar continues, "The collaboration promoted by telepresence makes companies more agile in the marketplace.....  Telepresence doesn't automatically lead to these kinds of productivity enhancements. Aberdeen found that companies were more likely to reap the benefits of telepresence when it became a prominent feature of their corporate culture." In other words, the technology is just a tool. It will be used or ignored depending on its availability, ease of use, and corporate role.


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