By Lionel Walters, Guest Columnist
I grew up in suburban Sydney and enjoyed many of the benefits and conveniences of life in a large and established community. I was close to family and friends, had easy access to basic services such as education and health care, and had an almost unlimited selection of entertainment and retail options. In those blissful days of my youth, I had everything I needed within a distance of a few short kilometers.
My situation changed somewhat when I started my career. For the first time I found myself joining thousands of others in a daily commute to inner Sydney. I'm sure I was not alone in feeling that the two hours of travel each day could be better spent in other pursuits, but like so many before me, I took it in stride because I believed it was the price to pay if I wanted to realize the Australian Dream.
Then the company introduced me to a life-changing concept: telecommuting.
Although it was only a limited offering in the beginning, this connected life experience enabled me to work from home at times when I really needed it, like when my wife was sick in hospital or when our children were born. Gradually the company started to make flexible work options more accessible and eventually I found myself working from home several days each week and reporting to a manager on the other side of the world.
Inspired by these introductory experiences with the connected life, I wanted to push the envelope and see how the Internet could really change the way I work, live, play and learn. So after some discussion with my wife, I sought approval to move to rural Tasmania and become the company's first employee to live and work in Australia's "Apple Isle".
According to the VNI-Service Adoption Forecast, the Asia-Pacific region will have 1.1 billion users of fixed residential Internet access by 2016. With this many people connected from their homes, it's bound to change how people live day to day.
In stark contrast to the circumstances of my own youth, my children are now growing up far away from their extended family and with limited access to the services and experiences I took for granted. But the world is far more connected now than it was when I was growing up, and even though our little town is just starting to realize the opportunities ahead, I'm convinced that it will provide greater opportunities for my children than I ever had.
In coming posts, I will share some of the insights I have gained as I have experienced, observed and helped others realize the power of the Internet to enable life-changing experiences.
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Do you have an interesting story of how technology has changed your community, your work, or your business? Is technology providing opportunities that impact the socio-economics of the world around you? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contribute to this blog series.
What is VNI-SA? This is the Service Adoption forecast portion of our popular VNI research. It focuses on the worldwide end user adoption rates for a wide variety of services (e.g., SMS, mobile banking, online gaming, social media, location-based services). Read more at http://www.cisco.com/go/vnisa