Future diaries: 31 March 2015
I love my commute: I walk 3 metres from my back door into my garden office. I've been a home worker for nearly 10 years now, as many more people are. Continued investment and enhancement of the broadband infrastructure has changed a great many things, making working from home more of a reality. It is no longer seen as "bunking", because it can be as interactive as any office ever was. Government pressure to reduce emissions from big business has seen tighter, more efficient, working practises and a huge reduction in commuter culture, fuelled by corporate tax breaks, of course.
"The office" is still very much there, but for many, the need to occupy a desk for 8 hours, without interacting with those around you, isn't there any more. People are still adjusting to issues like IT support, briefings and meetings, and dealing with a changing social dynamic, but the flexibility it offers can't be denied. It's not all good though: sales driven workers miss the banter that drives a busy team and it is affecting morale and productivity.
The office space hasn't changed much though, except I don't have to dock anything. I have a hybrid data server offering local and cloud file access, some shared with colleagues, some private. The cloud is still a vulnerable place, so as well as my online backups, I still have a server in the cupboard under the stairs - belt and braces approach.
I reach out to the cinemascope monitor, which springs into life. It's a single curved unit that presents everything in windows. It fills most of the width of my desk and would be really dominating if it wasn't transparent. The display has its own OS, acting as a bridge between anything you feed in and what you see. I just slide the windows around and bring what I want to the centre, I can zoom, send things right to the peripherals, view what ever I want. It will let me feed in more than one source, so I can be working on different platforms in the same display, which saves a load of time, and I can pull applications off those platforms to work alongside in the display. Last night's Call of Duty: Roman Warfare 2 session is still sitting paused on one side. That'll be a distraction today, for sure.
I need to catch-up with Stuart, I punch him up on Skype. He's in a conference with a couple of people I know. I flick the conference across my screen: it's like peering through an opaque window. I can see Stuart clearly, the others are dimmed and the words are indistinguishable. I knock on the conference window, the dimmed heads turn and I'm in, in glorious high-definition, smiles all round. Video conferencing is so much more productive and with real time online translation, people can talk in their native language with only a hint of a delay. One day it will be seamless, like Douglas Adams' Babel Fish.
My mobile phone diverts everything through my desk when I walk into the office. Incoming calls alert me on my display: what starts as a voice call often turns into a video call on my screen, face time is as important as ever. I never take video calls when out of the office though - I never felt it gave me the privacy that I wanted on a call. Usefully I can reject an incoming call with a voice message at the touch of a button. Not a new system, but much more personal than before.
My calendar pings up a meeting, so I grab my phone and head out of the door, everything behind me flipping over to passive standby. I jump into my VW, which detects my phone, and pulls the appointment details onto the dash display, offering route navigation and alerting me to traffic on route. It is the latest Golf model, using VW's new 2.0l GCI engine which uses both HCCI and spark ignition cycles in the engine for power and efficiency, depending on the driving conditions.
On arrival I touch my phone to the sensor on reception and a printer spits out a visitor ID for me. Meetings are meetings, the stewed tea tastes bitter, the canapé lunch is never going to be enough. The company is offering a preview showing off their soon-to-be-officially-announced hybrid camera model, offering another blending of DSLR technologies with compact dimensions. This thing isn't going to make an impact in an already congested market and it's another lens system to buy into. I grab some hands-on shots, which are relayed by Wi-Fi to my phone, which sends them via 4G into the back end of Pocket-lint for processing. The embargo says we have to wait to publish, but this company is full of leaks, so everyone knows what is coming. That end of the game will never change.
I head home back to the office, grab a Kraft Dairy Milk from the fridge and look at the collection of emails and voicemails. Technology has taken us so far, but doesn't seem to have given us more time. I decide the best option is to take the fight to Boudica in the defence of Camulodunum. I'm sure this game doesn’t really work, it's just gladius waving…
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