Killing The Office: A vision from Nortel

Will we see the death of the cube cage? (cartoon courtesy of tyger lylie)

As regular readers know Greenmonk is not trying to be the last word in green data centers, but instead looks at how technology can support and sustain breakthroughs in behaviour which improve environmental outcomes. Like greenbang “we’re a bit bored of green data centers“. One obvious opportunity is for the use of collaboration tools to significantly change how we live and work – our patterns of movement.

Thus BT touts Tesco as a reference for video conferencing: “every time Tesco moves a meeting from face to face to online it saves 47kilos of carbon, and reduces travel costs.” Cisco acquired Webex and is sure to put forward similar arguments, as is Microsoft with LiveMeeting, and Adobe with Connect. So far Webex is the only one with a working business model, but that’s a different story. But why stop at video-conferencing?

Why not announce the death of the office, as Nortel enterprise CTO Phil Edholm just did?

“A lot of businesses have set up a virtual presence [in Second Life] and what they find is what’s the point? But if in fact I could walk up to the virtual support desk and meet the avatar of the virtual support person which would then find somebody in the company that has the right skills to actually help me that could become of great value.”

Of course offices aren’t going to disappear any more than paper has, but its still good to see that Nortel is asking big breakthrough questions. Greenmonk will have to watch the company more closely.

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