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The Nomad Worker
There is an interesting article in today's (July 29, 2009) edition of the Los Angeles Times titled "With wireless devices, telecommuters cut the cord." The article discusses current day nomads, another name for telecommuters, who work outside a formal office environment, in places such as coffee shops, hotel lobbies, communal work places or even poolside. Nomads work virtually anywhere they can connect to the Internet, usually through wireless means. Voice, once the primary medium for telecommunications among co-workers, is given short shrift in the article; use of iPhones and Skype are mentioned in passing for the "occasional" voice contact. The two nomads mentioned by name and age are both under 40 years old. They have been members of the work force in the era characterized by personal computing, emails and instant messaging and more recently by Twitter and Facebook. It is appears that traditional telephony systems are secondary to many younger workers for purposes of communication.The gradual shift from voice to text-based communications has been occurring for many years, an ominous trend for the old-line suppliers of telephony systems whose core products are in danger of becoming low-use appendages in tomorrow's communications networks. An increasing number of workers with little or no contact with customers are likely to view desktop telephones as prehistoric-like relics during the next few years, favoring cell phones and computing terminals in their place. As the Baby Boomer generation of executives and managers retire from the workplace, the desktop telephones they leave behind may be destined for a quicker trip to the dustbin of history than we could have ever imagined a few years ago. The days when companies ubiquitously install new desktop telephones costing several hundred dollars per instrument are likely, and rapidly, coming to the end.