How high does the price of gas have to go for you to start working from home, carpool, or take public transportation?
Gas prices in the San Francisco Bay Area have jumped above $4 per gallon. The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report shows national average prices around the $3.70 level. I take public transportation from time to time. When gas prices first hit the $4 mark back in mid 2008, I saw a dramatic jump in public transportation ridership. I remember passengers packed like sardines on buses and light rail trains during the commute hours, scenes that you would normally see on the streets of Beijing or Tokyo.
Is history simply repeating itself with $4 gas in 2008 and $4 gas today?
Not exactly. It’s been less than 4 years, but we are much more connected now than in 2008. Ubiquitous wired and wireless network access makes us more productive and less dependent on physical transportation for work. Here are some stats that I collected to show the difference.
|Android smart phones sold||Q2 2008: Didn’t find stats||Q2 2011: 46.8 million units|
|Apple iPhones sold||Q2 2008: 1.7 million units||Q2 2011: 18.6 million units|
|Power Over Ethernet (PoE) switch ports shipped. PoE connects devices like wireless access points easily to the network.||2007: 47 million PoE ports||2010: 70 million PoE ports|
|Wi-Fi on Bay Area light rail trains||2008: No||Today: Yes|
|Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)||2008: What’s that?||Today: Everywhere|
Anytime, anywhere access also helps people work smarter and more efficiently. Take the Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) in California, for example. Its limited IT department supports 20 school districts, serving more than 60,000 students. MCOE IT staff is extending network connectivity for schools. Instead of having to send its network technicians out on the road, MCOE is using Cisco Smart Install to remotely provision dozens of new switches as part of a full-scale wired and wireless deployment. The streamlined process saves time and valuable fiscal resources.
“Cisco Smart Install will help with making sure costs are contained while accelerating how quickly we can deploy this optimal solution to get schools up and running”, says Vern Alvarado, network infrastructure supervisor at MCOE.
$4 gas is hurting everyone’s pocket. People are even talking about $5 down the road. But the buses are not very crowded yet. Perhaps it’s a sign that this time around, we’re commuting less, and logging on more.