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Broadband Boom

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Broadband, WiFi, VoIP, Hot-Desking, Teleworking, Instant Messaging are the hottest technologies for 2004. Combined they will revolutionise the way we work by introducing better scalability and fluidity of the UK workforce.

Everyone in IT knows that Broadband means faster internet access, but what most people don't know is that we are potentially facing another dot-com boom.

The difference now, is that the internet is so much more prominent now, users more savy, developers more talented, and consumers intelligent. In fact the bubble burst of the first internet boom meant that most business managers learned their lesson the hard way.

With speed comes choice, customers can now research 15 suppliers in the time it took to research 5 using narrowband.

With speed comes new communication channels, many individuals are now using instant messaging, less intrusive than the telephone, but more responsive than email. Used appropriately this new medium is helping businesses around the world to gain efficiency.

Outsourcing and teleworking are now much more attractive than they once were. Communication has never been more prominent as a result it is now possible to work as part of a team without ever meeting face to face. Web-Translations Limited use a network of professional freelance translators, all over the world, to translate, proofedit and prepare documents and web pages into the top 100 languages.

"By using professional freelancers, our workforce is scalable (we can employ any number of freelancers at one point in time), fluid (we can choose from over 20,000 freelancers, in different countries, protecting us from exchange rate fluctuations), and adaptable to the needs of each client and more specifically each project." Essentially this allows our business to have its greatest cost as a variable cost rather than fixed. This reduces risk and makes the business scalable, so that growth can be easily accommodated and downsizing does not detriment peoples' lives.

"Assuming it meets the needs of the individual's personality, teleworking can lead to increases in efficiency, motivation and productivity." According to research from xyz.

It is not just the rise in broadband that will bring about the next boom, "WiFi" (wireless networking) will mean that teleworkers are no longer confined to the monotony of their desk. We will soon see teleworking cafes popping up providing a common working space for professionals.

"Hot desking" is already popular with some organisations, hot-desking out of the office is now catching on and businesses are realising that they may not need as much space as originally anticipated.

The versatility of the freelance market is another attraction, with the USD at an all time low, we are switching to using equally talented freelancers in the USA. For any business, a direct reduction in costs, means a proportional increase for profitability for the UK market, our US division will still remain competitive.

The textiles industry went to Malaysia some time ago, call centres are now popping up in India, many other industries will migrate to where there are lower factors of production, starting with the low-education industries.

Naturally, there are concerns over quality. Humans are the single most difficult resource to be able to manage. Web-Translations Limited have found that quality is human, by demonstrating a commitment, showing genuine concern, and appreciating the work environment of our teleworkers, we have become their favourite employer. A little effort goes a long way, as the reclusive, pedantic personalities of the best people we employ thrive more on recognition more than on financial gain.

It is difficult to imagine, but realistic to realise that many types of services could be outsourced and not restricted by geography, including programming, photography, marketing, translation, legal advice, medical advice, and more.

We will see more teleworkers coming onto the scene in the future, each with unique experiences, expertise and different levels of competence. As the average age of the population increases faster than the average age of the working population, we will see more retired people teleworking to compliment their pension, working to keep their brain active.

"VoIP" is a new technology introduced by broadband. The idea of communicating voice over the internet has been around for some time, but the slow connection has always meant that the quality was unreliable. Now, with broadband the quality is much improved, and the integration with computers makes VoIP a highly attractive technology. It is set to revolutionise the telcoms industry. For business it will mean, reduced bills, automatic dialling every time. You will see if someone is busy and thus not make a call, instead of getting the engaged tone. The benefits of VoIP are fantastic, I suggest you research for potential suppliers.

My friend Andy is a talented musician, he has just found a way to get listeners for his music. He has setup his own Internet based radio station. As easy as one-two-three he told me, now listeners tune in from the USA and applaud his talent. When he does his next gig's he intends to broadcast it live to his loyal base of listeners worldwide! This new medium is another platform for delivering your message, again, thanks to broadband.

Without these barriers, we are a more interconnected, global society. Information, services and people are at the tips of our fingers. But there still remains a significant barrier, that of language and culture. Remember the HSBC commercials? "The world's local bank"

It is obvious that the benefits are vast, but the various applications for using broadband are a fast moving target for business. It would be impossible to encompass all the benefits I have mentioned overnight, and by the time they are in place technology will have moved on. What was forgotten during the dot-com boom was that humans change slower than pace of technology, particularly when it comes to changing how they work day to day. Daniel Rajkumar advises "to stay two steps ahead of the game, and introduce one improvement at a time. There is no point to be at the bleeding edge of technology. See what others are doing; find out what works, why it works, then employ it in the best way possible."

To summarise -- Broadband enables us to take advantage of globalisation in the following ways:

  • Expansion of the marketplace by careful use of language presentation
  • Taking advantage of quality controlled, low-cost translation services to give a competitive edge in world markets
  • Enabling a shorter lead time, from order placement to delivery ensuring improved cashflow
  • A faster and reduced cost means of communication

    Be warned about new technology, it gets addictive, and you should know you've taken it too far. My partner, Sarah recently made a new house rule: "The computer cannot come to bed".

    With the right amount of the best ingredients businesses can produce a cocktail for success, but misapplied it could leave them with a severe hangover.
  • Author: Daniel Rajkumar