Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Does the Office of the Future Look Like?

Blackspaces coworking space

For the commercial property industry, that’s a million dollar question.

Peer inside a dozen different office buildings and the chances are you will see a dozen different office cultures. The office as we know it has come a long way – cubicle farms and private office space are giving way to open-plan offices, and from traditional long-term leases came flexible serviced offices. Furthermore, free Wi-Fi in cafes helped to promote the co-working movement.

There are numerous theories and suggestions about the future workplace. The common ground seems to be that the future office will most likely reflect the requirements of a much more flexible and mobile workforce. For example, a recent Regus study – ‘Flexibility Drives Productivity‘ – found “hard evidence” that flexible working helps to overcome barriers for growth. Their research claims that 72% of global businesses reported increased productivity as a direct result of flexible working practices.

The Regus study also found that 68% of firms declared that flexible working led to staff generating increased revenue.

If flexible working equals increased revenue, that’s surely the route most – if not all – profit-seeking businesses will want to take. So the future office certainly seems to be one that will pander to the needs of a more flexible workforce, whether that be mobile workers, part-timers, freelancers or homeworkers.
The aptly named Office of the Future: 2020 goes further into the concept.
Featuring a comprehensive range of research studies conducted by staffing organisation Office Team, the general consensus is that there will be fewer set locations, and employees will increasingly work from diverse locations, with teams equipped to work – and be managed – on a remote basis. From a staffing perspective, those people that can adequately adapt to new situations and fit into a work-on-the-go environment will be in demand.

Office of the Future: 2020 predicts that technology will play a significant role in allowing staff to work off-site, while companies will come to rely on a range of plug ‘n play environments within which to land. Essentially, “going to work” will be redefined as employees become more mobile.
Technology is at the crux of progress for both work-on-the-go professionals and the workspace industry. Jerome Chang, founder of co-working facility BLANKSPACES, believes that workspace and technology are intrinsically linked.

“I see coworking and real estate the same as software and hardware. Once every Joe is comfortable with computers, then we can move toward Web 1.0, then 2.0, and hopefully, mobile. By then, we’ll see many more nimble workspaces in airports, malls, and hotels. Everything from how power and data is distributed will be more standardized.”

He believes that concierge or front desks will be commonplace, helping workers to get acquainted with the day’s touchdown space. He thinks that landlords will become more like today’s cloud servers, in the sense that their office space will be “modular, reconfigurable spaces”.

Bridget Hardy of Integrans Consulting believes that the future workplace will be more of a ‘pay as you go’ environment. Rather than rows of static desks, the space will work harder and offer more options – such as collaborative spaces, “huddle areas” and quiet areas for workers to “get their heads down”.
Offices that ‘work harder’ to make better use of available space, helping to minimise floor plates and reduce overheads certainly seems a viable solution. Combine this with the evidence that greater flexibility at work results in happier staff and bigger revenue margins, and you’ve got the makings of a recipe for success.

What’s your view on the future office?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Convergence of Emergency Voice and Data

 By Lori MacVittie, Senior Technical Marketing Manager

This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

None of my adult children have a land line. It is unlikely they ever will – or will even consider it. They’re millennials, and grew up in a digital world where phones are mobile, kept in your pocket, and used for texting and social networking and web access, not calling mom to see how she’s doing.

It’s unlikely that they – or others sharing their view on communications – have considered what that means to their ability to obtain emergency services should they need them.

When organizations first started moving toward a converged network comprising both voice and data, the uproar over emergency services was heard loud and clear. Emergency service systems were designed to tag phone numbers to specific addresses for rapid response, based on the premise that a physical wire actually connected the phone to a location.

But that’s no longer the case. The increasingly unwired nature of technology ignores that premise and ultimately breaks the system. E911 was developed to address this disconnect and systems were added that were able to use geo-location through techniques such as triangulation as a means to pinpoint an address. VoIP complicated things yet again, and the sometimes inaccurate databases tying IP addresses to locations frustrated implementers. The addition of tablets and Wi-Fi-enabled phones only serves to exacerbate the difficulties emergency services has with trying to identify the location of a caller in need of assistance. Though most phones and tablets are enabled with GPS, the data from which could be used to solve this problem, many users are reluctant to allow any application to share that data or have turned off the functionality because of its tendency to draw too much power and drain battery reserves faster than they can update Facebook.

In North America, location is determined by querying the automation location information database, maintained by third parties (typically the ILEC). Data from the ALI can be used to route the call to the appropriate local authorities as well as determine the location of the caller. Except the way in which the ALI is updated is not necessarily compatible with mobility. It’s not necessarily updated in real time, which means despite the availability of up-to-date GPS coordinates from most mobile devices, a call to emergency services might tag you as being at home, when you’re really at the local Dunkin Donuts.

That’s a problem, and one that’s increasing as VoIP becomes more popular as a means to communicate, especially for millennials. VoIP even on mobile phones is common with the next generation, and the rising popularity of tablets (which do not come with phone numbers) encourages the use of such peer-to-peer (especially as they’re generally free) communications.

There is a growing need to find a longer-term solution to the problem of locating a caller that is accurate in real-time across both the IP and traditional carrier space. A more modern solution may require a radical change in the networking layer to support the inevitable transition of more and more communications to a digital format.

Perhaps we can take a cue from the lowest levels of the networking stack and geo-stamp packets much as we timestamp them. Perhaps there’s a need for a new Ethernet type, the E911 type, which clearly indicates packets carry time-sensitive, critical calls for help.

A more network-oriented solution – given that almost all emergency traffic flows over networks today – may be the answer to resolving the disconnect between the two worlds. Giving infrastructure the ability to geo-stamp a specific traffic type may provide the best answer, given the preponderance of availability of such data from devices whether accessing services over the Internet or a carrier’s cellular network. The emergence of LTE makes this possibility even more likely – and achievable – given the convergence under the covers of voice and data running on the same network.

It seems feasible, then, that network infrastructure play some role in ensuring that calls for help – whether via VoIP, SMS, or cellular – be identifiable when mixed in among traffic carrying status updates and streaming video of cats dancing to the latest Lady Gaga tune.

 Lori MacVittie is senior technical marketing manager at F5 Networks (

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Marketing Services


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Three Ideas to Get Your Business Back "Out There"! 

I've spoken with so many business owners and managers who are tired of being in "hunker down" mode until the economy improves. They talk about spending most of their time just trying to get enough sales in the door to stay reasonably healthy. Some have taken a sort of checkerboard marketing approach, trying a little bit of this and that to grab another customer. They've been hammered by the economy and they are still weathering the storm.

Most of us agree that the economy will come back regardless of who becomes president this next month. We all have our opinions as to who will bring it back more quickly, but we keep our eyes open for the light at the end of the tunnel.

What can you do as a business, to reaffirm your value and "get out there" to compete effectively, as the economy thaws and buyers start looking for things to buy again? Here are a few ideas that most small businesses agree won't break the bank and will have a net positive effect:
  1. The Plan: You've probably drifted a bit with your focus and messaging to get business in the door. Get the team together and spend a few hours going back over your plan. Lots of things can change in a couple of years.  Make adjustments, reaffirm your unique value, and adjust your corporate descriptions and whatever else needs to be adjusted. 

  1. Distribute Content: Now to the get back "out there" part. Let people know you're still very much around. Start by checking out your website. Is it fresh or stale? Get some fresh content on the pages and make sure they are search-engine-friendly. Start a short newsletter. Keep it simple, interesting and brand reflective.    

  1. Customer Voice: When was the last time you did a customer case story? Reach out to customers who are happy with your product. These "stories" can be used in all areas of your marketing.
Don't put this on the back burner until after the holiday season. Start it now! And, you know I can help you with it. Do these things and, come January, you'll be in a better position to meet the New Year head on, and the new competitors that may come with it!

Susan Saldibar Marketing, provides expert marketing consulting and services to small-mid sized businesses who are serious about growing to the next level, but want to avoid hiring a full time marketing executive. We help them get the results they thought were out of reach, by re-aligning their marketing actions to put their product in front of their ideal customer.  Check out my PR/Social Media Package to jumpstart or re-start your PR and social media! 

Did you know that I offer a 1-hour free consultation? I follow it up with an outline that provides immediate value to your business, identifying some things you can do immediately to improve the effectiveness of your marketing activities. I also have two new packages for website revamping and social media. I'm happy to share them with you. Drop me an email at or call me at 714 757-3082. 

The "trick" is to do it right the first time; the "treat" is a growing customer list! 

 "The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."
  ~ Henry Ford  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Government Technology and Center for Digital Government Announcing
Winners of Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers of 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – March 1, 2012 – Government Technology magazine and the Center for Digital
Government announced today the “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers” of 2012.

Saving $14 Million dollars for students, scholarships and faculty with open source
software, spearheading a citywide broadband project that delivers ultra-fast Internet connections,
creating a real-time crime center and facial recognition technology for the nation’s largest police force
and leading a multi-state cloud computing initiative are just some of the reasons why Government
Technology chose this year’s Top 25 winners.

These visionaries are being recognized in the March issue of Government Technology and on for setting the standard on how technology is used to improve government performance
and strengthen citizen services.

Government Technology has awarded this honor to nearly 300 individuals over the last 10 years. See
how these winners are chosen, the past winners and video profiles on

Government Technology’s
Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers of 2012:

Chicago’s Digital Trio
• Brett Goldstein, Chief Data Officer, Chicago, Ill.
• Kevin Hauswirth, Social Media Director, Chicago, Ill.
• John Tolva, CTO, Chicago, Ill.

Dick Clark, CIO, Montana
Debbie Conway, Recorder, Clark County, Nev.
Larry Godwin, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security
Dale Jablonsky, Asst. Executive Officer Information Technology Services Branch, CalPERS
Brian Kelley, CIO, Portage County, OH
Bill Lindner, Director, Center for Academic & Professional Development, Florida State Univ.
Ron Littlefield, Mayor, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Milwaukee’s Dynamic Duo
• Nancy Olson, CIO, Milwaukee, Wis.
• Laurie Panella, Interim CIO, Milwaukee County, Wis.
Christopher Mitchell, Director, Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Telecommunications as Commons
Steve Nichols, CTO, State of Georgia
John Nixon, Director, Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget
Jim Onalfo,
CIO, New York City Police Department
Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director, Code for America
Steve Reneker, CIO, Riverside, Calif.
Michael Riedyk, Founder, YouTown
Kyle Schafer, CTO, West Virginia
Bryan Sivak, Chief Innovation Officer, Maryland
Mark Sloan, Emergency Management Coordinator, Harris County, Texas
Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Stanley Stewart, Deputy Chief of Staff for Eligibility Integration, Texas Health and Human Services
Greg Wass, CIO, Cook County, Ill.
Flint Waters, CIO, Wyoming
Brad Wheeler, CIO and Vice President of IT, Indiana University


Code for America Fellows,
San Francisco, Calif.
CrisisCommons, Washington, DC


The Center for Digital Government
is a national research and advisory institute on information
technology policies and best practices in state and local government.

Government Technology is about solving problems in state and local government through the smart
use of technology. Drawing on the experiences from across the country, Government Technology
features best practices, and fosters communities of interest around improving service delivery and
transforming government operations.

Government Technology and the Center for Digital Government are divisions of e.Republic, a national
publishing, event and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation.
Patty Cota
Director of Corporate Communications