I have few requirements left for being connected.
It used to be that I needed a single computer, my computer, in order to catch up with all of the things that are most important. Then it was any computer connected to the internet. Then it was a cell phone for filtering information in twitter and in e-mail. Then it was any device that could pull up gmail and google docs.
Today, my mobile office looked like this:
- A usb internet connect card, plugged into a mobile wireless router.
- An iPad, running TeamViewer (free) which was connected to my laptop at my “real office” (it was actually displaying another screen via GoToMeeting for a webinar)
- A Cell Phone, conferencing in a call from California
I should also mention that I was sitting in my car while attending the webinar, conference call, and remote desktop session. I had no limitations on web applications (flash/ContentEditable issues were not a problem). I had no limitations on mobility. I could have been driving the car and attending (as it was, I was parked). I had no limitations on how many people could be a part of my communication. I was recording the call via Google Voice. I could have even had others logging in to either the webinar or my desktop in order to look over my shoulder as we talked over the ways in which safe social networking can work in schools. Had I thought about it, I could have had Google Voice ring through to my Whistle app on the iPad and not had to deal with the phone part.
As I got out of my car and went into my kids’ school to go pick them up, I realized that my office really is everywhere. I’m not sure what it means that I am truly no longer tethered in any way or limited by the devices I carry. At the very least I question what collaboration really looks like for me.
When I needed my own computer to function, collaboration meant that I had to find a time for people to come to me. As I moved out to any computer, I could seek out others in a small radius. As it moved to any device, I could do more asynchronous types of contribution and conversations. As it became cell phones, I found ways to archive things and bring my voice and video into the equation. Now… well, now I don’t see how my collaboration within any project or document is limited by proximity or time. It means that I don’t have to wait to take part or process or reflect or create. No limitations means no missed opportunities. No prerequisites for connection. No officially sanctioned regrets.