It’s always interesting to see that when there some major event that disrupts the normal ebb and flow of business, such as the snow that hit the UK between 2 and 5 February 2009, there is usually some august body that estimates just how many billions the event has cost the country.
Well there’s one group of people that are certainly not counting the cost. On the contrary they are rubbing their hands with joy and counting extra cash.
They are the mobile broadband suppliers.
What was bad news for the UK transport infrastructure (or the shameful finding out of a pared to the bone train and road network) was manna for those who supply the IT and communications technology that supports mobile business and makes firms more flexible and adaptable and better places to rid out the recession.
One especially happy camper was Orange who recorded a huge increase in the volume of mobile data usage, as people turned to their mobile phones and dongles to keep on working from home.
Hours after the first snowflakes hit the ground in the early hours of Monday 2 February; the mobile business technology supplier recorded a 30% increase in mobile data usage throughout the day as thousands of people turned to their mobile phones and USB modems to keep on working. Over the course of the working week to 5 February, the extra use of mobile data continued at 20% above average.
Commented Paul Tollet, Vice President Business at Orange UK said, “Our business customers have really felt the benefit of mobile and remote technologies during the last week, as they’ve enabled many employees to continue working, away from the office. With the right solutions, for example broadband services, mobile email, mobile tools or coverage solutions… in place, mobile and flexible working can effectively give businesses an extension of their office space, enabling day to day operations to continue, whatever the weather.”
And that indeed is the whole point. What the whiteout proved is that given the appropriate mobile business technology–including of course the platform on which to plug in mobile broadband technology–businesses don’t need to have all of their workers in the office all at the same time. They can be nearer to clients and customers and so improve business productivity.
Going to work is more of a function rather than going to a place.