The Future is Now: Video Ushers in a New Way of Working and Living!
As an aviation enthusiast, pilot and part-time air commuter, I am sometimes able to avoid the headache and frustration of the gridlocked traffic that plagues tens of millions of motorists each year – and for those on the road, the problem seems to get continuously worse. However, many scientists and transportation experts are now predicting a turnaround in this trend to one from which we should benefit over the next 20 years.
Technological advancements are at the forefront of this evolution, from cutting-edge in-car technology that can sense when there is a traffic jam ahead and adjust for spacing and speed, to flying cars (think The Jetsons), like the ones recently developed and successfully tested by Terrafugia Inc. in Massachusetts. However, what will likely constitute the most dramatic improvement in the commuter experience in the decades to come is the growing trend of “mobility.” In this context, mobility refers to a new way of working: namely, the promotion and realization of a mobile, efficient, and wholly connected workforce. More and more American companies are adopting this concept of “mobility”, allowing their workforces to “work from home” or “telecommute” to help promote efficiencies, give real credence to the promise of a work/life balance, and ultimately, attracting and retaining talent.
The advent of high-end, High definition video collaboration tools has undoubtedly helped to encourage and promote this emergent “work from home” culture. In fact, according to reports from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of U.S. employees who work from home has been on a steady increase since 1999. The agency’s reports show that 11.3 million people worked from home in 2005, up from 9.5 million in 1999. Another survey found that 17.2 million Americans worked from home one day a month in 2008, up from 12.4 million. And this trend isn’t just being driven by the private sector — the Federal Government has also been growing tele-work programs across agencies. For example, 86 percent of employees in the Department of Treasury’s OIG for Tax Administration tele-work and we’re seeing significant growth across many other government agencies.
It stands to reason that with pervasive video-based collaboration becoming a mainstay in competitive, forward-thinking organizations, these numbers will sky-rocket in the coming years as access to video communication becomes more and more prevalent. Furthermore, we should expect telecommuting to expand its reach beyond typical “white-collar” jobs with innovative and customized video solutions that can enhance and improve process within fields such as manufacturing and law enforcement, to name a few.
In the last 20 years technology has had an immeasurable impact on the way we work and play. Only time will tell what the next 20 years will bring, but my bet is that video collaboration tools will indeed emerge to become one of the most important technologies of this century in redefining the way we live, work and play.