Archive for November 2013 | Monthly archive page

A traditional business that has a lovely big office with directors and employees typically has technology to match which includes computers, fax machines and phones attached to desks, however if this is a business model that is dying out, what exactly is taking its place and how is technology evolving to fit?

First of all, I believe that the traditional office is still alive and kicking and very popular. Yes, there are younger companies popping up and doing this differently, but for a large percentage of companies, the traditional style is still the norm. They have however, had to evolve slightly to include a new, more flexible way of working. With more of us, male and female alike trying to achieve a better work/life balance, we are finding we can catch up on work while out and about. Some employees are rarely in the office, doing most of their business on the go. This new kind of worker is called a “Nomad” (Greek for “wanderer) and they need technology to fit their work and life style.

Before I get into that, lets look at how far we have come, from the first kind of computers to the mobile phones we all have in our pockets now.

Charles Babbage, a 19th century inventor was the first to come up with the idea of a computer. Something that could do calculations. He never realised his dream, although he did build several models. This was a largely mechanical device.

Betty and Fran with the ENIAC

Betty and Fran with the ENIAC

We did not go electronic until Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer. I love the image here which shows the some of the first computer engineers were women!

Rico Shen

Martin Cooper – Inventor of the DynaTAC 8000

Martin Cooper was the first create a commercial mobile phone, inspired by Star Trek! The DynaTAC 8000x (love the catchy name…!) was born in 1984 and sold for $4000! That’s the last time I complain about my mobile phone bill!

Fast forward 3 decades, where video conferencing is the norm, tablets are replacing magazines and books. The internet has changed the way we work, play and even conduct our love life.

Organizations are beginning to experiment increasingly more with nomadic work as a practice where employees travel most of their work time to meet with others inside and outside of the organization.
Many of you are Nomads. If you find yourself doing business and meeting with people more out of the office than in, you can class yourself as a Nomad. How many of you are now sitting with your mobile or your ipad while sat in a cafe or on the train?

So what is the most important to a Nomad to be able to do their business smoothly on the go?
Wireless technology and mobile signal: So many of us now us our smart phone or our ipad to email and touch base with the main office while out and about. With the introduction of “cloud computing” it is now even possible to create/edit and email documents, spreadsheets, pdfs and images to our clients and colleagues. We are all tweeting, Facebook following and linking in together while being out and about.

Traveling becomes so much easier if your business fully embraces mobile. You will be able to work remotely even if you are on the train to meet a client and any time that would previously have been wasted is now perfect for doing things like managing your admin remotely over the Cloud. With the increase of remote workers and nomads,  telecom companies are under  huge pressure to provide high speed broadband.

The other main thing we do on our ipads and mobiles is search via a search engine such as Google. We search for our clients websites, we search for local information, we search for further details of a company we just made a connection with while networking. We are all doing it, we are all using these mobile devices more and more.

So whats next, and what do you need to watch out for?

Electronic WalletElectronic Wallets – paying for things via your mobile phone like card. Companies like Master Pass will aim to help us defeat checkout queues. This sort of technology is available in America but not yet in the UK as far as I know. Thats not because of a lack of companies willing to take on this sort of tech. Pizza Express has already teamed up with and paypal in the UK, allowing you to pay your bill online in less than 1 minute!. Virtual Oyster Card systems for the underground are not that far away.

Flexible mobiles, like Nokias Human Form Phone, conceived in 2011 are currently the new “this is the future” buzz conversation topic for mobile phone geekoids. Flexible phones wrapped around your wrist would mean less breakage – Given that we spent  £1.2 billion in the UK between 2007-2012, having a device that does not break would be great!

What about if all surfaces were touch sensitive and all devices flexible?

How many of us back in 2001 thought that in 10 years time we would all have implanted devices? These are taking a little longer to develop but they are out there. The advantages are obvious: Water proof, you won’t forget it, it’s invisible.

What about video calls? These already exist, but what if instead of a video, your image was projected as a hologram? Beam me up scotty! This would prove very useful if you have to be in that meeting on the other side of the world, but you are stuck where you are due to snow/thunderstorms/lack of time.

Hologram technology, like that being developed by Holoxia in Edinburgh for the gaming industry might soon be more common in our meeting rooms or even our homes and domestic settings.  Could this idea be used to create a “body double” that you can send to meetings across the world?

Human Media Lab at Queens University in Canada recently developed human scale 3D video conferencing Pod. Microsoft has also recently posted a job advertising for software development engineers to work on a similar project.

Google Glass has been out for a while now. This head set allows users to access their social media, browse the web and capture images and video via a small piece of perspex right infront of their vision. This has opened many debates about privacy, with non wearers being concerned that they are being captured on video without their knowledge/permission.

This technology is not futuristic, its out there already. It exists and will soon be available to the mass market. The future is interesting and we will definitely see a blurring of the lines between our physical and virtual self. Technology has made the world a much smaller place and the work place much more efficient. Will the future workers of tomorrow be able to imagine only being able to access the world right in front of them?

However….despite the fact that I am a geek and that online branding and websites are my passion, I do believe in going off grid every now and then. My partner and I have “no tech” nights where the laptop gets turned off, the phone gets turned off, even the TV and we are forced to talk, discuss and live in the the natural real world. If you haven’t done that before, I urge you to give it a go with your family. At work, you can have a “talk face to face hour”. Rather than email your colleague the sits in the room next to you, get up off your chair and go talk to them!

This is the first chance I have had for a while to sit and do a Mustard Seed Media news updated. Mad week of work that saw me going live with our clients website  (a wonderful massage therapist based in Huddersfield) and also jet setting off to Belfast for the day. Now sat with a cup of tea and enjoying the lovely roaring rustic fire in my new office.

“New office?” do I hear you say?! Yes, indeed!! We have moved ever so slightly south (but still very much in Yorkshire) and are now working in Penistone. We have been working on site in Sheffield with a new client for the past few months, so we decided to save a bit of petrol and move down closer. We were also outgrowing the “kitchen” office that Mustard Seed Media had started in and are badly in need of more space.

Many thanks to all our clients who were patient with us while we moved. We had planned it well though, so it was not a massive rush and we had lots of time to do things gradually.We now have a dedicated office for MSM and don’t have to stare at the dirty dishes anymore. The dirty dishes are kept hidden away in the kitchen. Hurrah!

We have had a fun number of months working on website designs for a variety of new clients, including Shaw Consulting Ltd, Marmalade on the Square, Lewis Body Therapy and doing ongoing web support and photography for The Huddersfield Philharmonic.

Over the next few weeks we will be working on an existing website with our clients Laughter in Mind and giving Social Media presentations at both the Halifax Driving Association meetings and Castleford 4N. This will bring us up to our Christmas do on the 12th of December! Falalalala!