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Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 22, 2009

Do we need an Office?

It is a question especially to the IT folks. I dont think you guys need to go to an office in order to complete your work. I need not explain why because you know you dont need to go. You have a desktop/laptop at home, you have a decent internet connection, you have services of companies like Dropbox where you can store most of your data, and you have a Remote Desktop connection as well as Citrix. What makes you go to the office then?

Do you guys agree? If scalable and virtualised resources are or can be made available over the internet, it is absolutely possible.

So when are you stopping going to the office?

PS: People who want to question if I'm following this or not... the answer is yes.
Mayur, Almost a similar kind of thread was started , check this thread for the views of others. 😀
Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 22, 2009
Mayur, Almost a similar kind of thread was started , check this thread for the views of others. 😀
This thread is not about whether we can work from home or not. This is about whether we need a BIG office at all. In my opinion, we dont. You can work from wherever you want and still get every thing done.

Read more about cloud computing --> cloud computing - Google Search
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Jul 22, 2009
CE's run from a virtual office right now 😁

But my personal opinion is that we do need an office. People should come and interact with each other, face to face. Virtual office may be a substitute when you can't come to work.

You will have to explain the idea of virtual office which you are imagining. Till then, my opinion is that we DO need an office.
Yes i am with Biggie in this.

I too need a office , we can interact with people. Go to team lunch 😉

Have many friends 😀
Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 22, 2009
The 'social' benefits of being in an office are always there and you cant substitute a face to face conversation with a telephone or an internet messenger. I'm not averse to people meeting each other and having a good time. However please remember that we dont go to the office for enjoying team lunch and making friends.

As you rightly said Biggie, we all members of the CE community actually work in a virtual environment. And you obviously know the benefits, huge savings on capital expenditure and absolutely negligible operational expenditure. If you needed an off line presence in the form of an office, you would have probably started one now and I might have been sitting next to you 😀 But then you haven't. This fact justifies you vouch for a virtual office.

A virtual office, guys, is actually an online work place. It is like you have your computer on the move with you, without actually having to carry it. Say some one else does it for you. All you need is a work station or a notebook computer with basic configuration and decent internet connectivity so that you can log on to your machine through a CMS like virtualization layer. The fact is, you will be actually logging in to a cloud and the entire work space will now start looking like your own office PC. You will work, chat, add, delete, save files, write programs, run them, maintain applications... absolutely every thing and save it on a dedicated server environment hosted some where else. The possibilities are endless.

The technology today puts some restrictions on the virtual computing (or cloud computing) though. So you need a machine with basic configuration to log on to your cloud. However I'm looking at a possibility where your DTH provider will double up for wireless internet and your LCD television set will have an embedded mother board in it. So that you can connect a key board and log in to your virtual office from half of the screen while some one else in your family watches a television serial at the same time on the remaining half of the screen.
Two aspects here:

1. Its a matter of human character. If one is in an office environment, one is more compelled to do work rather than slack off. Would you actually want to do a lot of work at the comfort of your house? None of your managers would be able to monitor your work. It'll be fine if you are actually disciplined and can be trusted to do work without supervision, so again.. matter of character. Another, meeting physically to discuss about work plays an important role. True, I'm a student, so I lack the experience of meeting regarding business work. But during my brief training stint, I see employees meeting frequently, at times with very short notice. Whether its a large group meeting, a small team meeting, or even a college dropping by the desk to ask about a problem regarding the design schematics or proposal. Replacing these with their "remote" equivalent would not produce the same productivity.

2. It is also a matter of situation. IT is not only about software. There are hardware aspects to it that cannot be accomplished remotely. Designing networking architectures will require physical access to equipment, network simulation using high end computers, and so on. And as mentioned in my first point, meeting in short notice is important to discuss project issues.

It is very dangerous to rely on cloud technology entirely. As nice as it sounds, it is still far from ready for an "office" environment. Unless you have the very best in networking equipment from carrier class down to the residential level, there are still obstacles to overcome in implementing reliable VoIP, IPTV, Video Conferencing, and other IP tech commercially. Its more likely the usage of networking devices would actually tend back to a centralized environment (your own office), but this time with virtualization technology that can fully utilize the servers for multiple uses. Examples include features from VMware that can use a single server to host various applications.

So for now, the "virtual" office environment is limited in functionality. Yep, it is easy to share documents remotely.. but unless the line of work you do is void of human interaction, an office is still needed.

And regarding CE? I'd bet that we would have accomplished a lot of projects given a centralized physical environment 😉
Prasad Ajinkya
Prasad Ajinkya • Jul 22, 2009
I agree with Ash here. Mayur, a cloud will give me all the infrastructure i need to run a virtual office. But there are severe downsides of working in virtual offices ... which cant be handled by a cloud - one such downside is engaging with ideas. A virtual office completely hampers this point. Currently I am working with a consult, a place which thrives on ideas ... and a place where ideas thrive.

Without the feedback and views on one particular idea, I cannot simply say - "A-ha!! This idea will work". It needs discussions and collaboration ... and yes, a lot of meetings (we call them design sessions ;-) ). But without those, there will not be clarity, and without clarity there is absence of purpose. Without purpose - my employees would end up loitering online and would end up on facebook, orkut, etc.

My $0.02
Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 22, 2009
@Ash: Cloud computing completely takes care of your hardware requirements, except for some. So I would say you are pretty much covered (may be 90%). Moreover cloud gives you a Infrastructure as a service and platform as a service. In both cases you need not invest in capex to own any thing. Just rent it and pay for the hours, minutes or seconds for which you used it. And I'm sure we are out of the era where the work needed to be monitored 24x7. Today people are responsible and they know what needs to be done to earn the salary.

Regarding security, I have seen the environments and am working on one. Believe me, the security is impeccable. For your information, let me tell you that Vodafone's web presence runs on a cloud. For my Indian brothers, Tata 'NANO' - The People's Car from Tata Motors was launched hosting on a cloud setup. It received record number of hits, didnt fail and was absolutely secure.

@Kidakaka: The tradeoff here is that we are not mentally geared up yet to welcome an office less organisation. We are talking about inability to exchange ideas by discussing them ON a virtual forum like CE who doesn't have a physical presence. This very fact nullifies the argument that ideas can not flow freely if you cant see the face of the person communicating it (which is again possible in a VC).

Pardon a minute's delay of course. 😀
My apologies, I'm being unusually long in my posts because networking technologies is of great interest to me these days 😛

Virtual office is indeed interesting without a doubt, but we must be careful not to ignore the technological issues that are very important. We must not view "cloud computing" as a magical fix.

Security and reliability is never impeccable when it comes to the Internet, mayur 😀 Between you and wherever the cloud is, lies thousands if not millions of nodes that are beyond your control. The "web" of connections is not organized, nobody plans the connections. Its pretty much an intricate mess. There have already been instances of undersea cables being cut, egde routers fail, and so on, which contributes to very slow or halted links. The Internet only seems to be working well due to over provisioning of bandwidth and services.. but this cannot keep with the demand consistently. Imagine trying to download important documents from the cloud, then half way the link fails? What if it takes a few days to fix the issue? And we've seen Google Docs been compromised and the risks of putting files on them (eg the Twitter financial report issue).

Its a lot easier and faster to fix a LAN issue rather than a WAN. Likewise, security is a lot better to handle in an enterprise environment than otherwise, provided you have the right personnel to maintain them. I wasn't aware about your Tata example, but I'm sure reliability goes beyond receiving number of hits 😉

Well, I didnt say one needs to be monitored 24x7 😛 You are a hard working person, bless you, but I'm pretty sure there is a large proportion who does just enough to earn the salary. Just like people who do enough to pass the grade, etc.

And I really think CE isnt a good example to use here. Granted, we have exchanged a lot of ideas, but.. the discussions that need to result in some substance (i.e projects) have been really dragging, which is probably due to the style of staggered communication. You've seen me posting images once in a while (remember the Sea Pollution discussion?), which is very important to convey ideas.. but its very difficult to do that consistently.

While in my uni, I do better with discussing with friends physically and "live". I personally prefer human contact, despite my engineering major of electronic communications.

I've seen and handled Cisco's IP products, and their "virtual" meeting applications. They look awesome in adverts and promotions.. but unless you have the dedicated infrastructure needed to implement them, using a cloud won't do much. Low resolution, lag, and so on would seriously hamper productivity. It is only cost effective between offices that a separated by long distances. But trying to have a decent conference between all employees who are at home is certainly not effective. When Metro ethernet launches to residential homes (theoretical speeds of 10 Mbps), it still wont guarantee flawless video conferencing. Add that to trying to purchase dedicated links to all employees homes, it is not worth. Unless of course, everyone is actually living in the same neighborhood!

I'd agree with distributed services when it comes to grid computing and perhaps electrical generation in some instances. Virtual office is possible, but a lot of technology still needs to be developed.. perhaps when ultra high resolution 3D holograms with full surround sound comes around 😉 Its better when we use Virtual office at present with limitations, rather than attempting to replace the "office" outright.
wassup • Jul 22, 2009
Well I don't have an office, I carry everything in my Bag, My laptop n wireless internet. I rome around by firefox cycle. Yeah I work from anywhere 😀
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Jul 22, 2009
Ahoy 😁 ! Some nice discussion building up here! 😁

I personally think we do need an office for CE for better management of the stuff. The virtual office has its advantages [mostly, cost cutting] but it has its own disadvantages too. We are a virtual team because we are low on budgets but slowly progression is being made to have an 'office'.

I sincerely believe 'personal interaction' is very important for a team that's working on any project. Plus, lot of time is spend in rework that arises from working virtually.
vishnu priya
vishnu priya • Jul 22, 2009
Cloud computing: Boon Or Bane?

Hello friends,
Today every one speak about cloud computing,
In this thread post whether cloud computing is a boon or a bane? in your own view.
Very nice discussion guys.

Mayur , I was just kidding because i was back from team lunch so just typed it 😀 , Yes you are correct we dont go office to make friends etc etc.

One thing which I want to state is , I am working on a testing tool which shared to Live meeting works very slow sometimes doesnt work!!
So if I get struck somewhere I usually call my friend to my desk to have a look , but that wont be there correct??

One question , IF we increase the speed of internet connection will the connectivity will be better in Live meeting??
ES, in theory, it will be better 😀

But, speed is not everything though. Since its duplex (two way).. both your uplink and downlink connections will have to be reliable.

Maybe you can ask your company to try Webex (WebEx: Web Conferencing, Web Meeting, Video Conference, Online Meeting Services). Its sort of a virtual conference where your computer desktop is shared with others, via a cloud. Again, it ties with your connection reliability. I've tested this out with once with other Cisco engineers last month, and the results were very poor even with decent speeds. One really needs a high bandwidth connection, as well as a good route to nearest WebEx cloud.
MaRo • Jul 22, 2009
I'm with having an office..

A stable place where I know no one would disturb me.

Get most of meeting with my coworkers.

Security for business owner that he knows exactly where is his work by add constraints on copying data to removable devices (like no USB ports) & special department can be responsible for copying data & knows who copied what when.

free drinks 😛
durga ch
durga ch • Jul 22, 2009
ahem. i think I will stick with Work from HOme. I am at my own peace at home with no roomies and at office I have people aroudn me discussing and talkign loudly. I get to work more from home and what more I can keep playing the TV through out the day 😁
Prasad Ajinkya
Prasad Ajinkya • Jul 22, 2009
Re: Cloud computing: Boon Or Bane?

vishnu priya
Hello friends,
Today every one speak about cloud computing,
In this thread post whether cloud computing is a boon or a bane? in your own view.
Know It All - The Cloud - Hype Cycle, Hyped

To know more about Hype Cycle and its interpretation, have a look at this - Hype cycle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cloud computing is still an emerging technology. Let it mature, let people start experimenting with it, let people make mistakes. Right now I dont see it as either a boon or a bane, because its too early 😀
Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 23, 2009
@Ash: Before I type another long post, I have just one thing to say- You are talking about today and I'm talking about tomorrow.

See guys, I know an office without an office is not possible today. Firstly because of the obvious technology and security challenges and second because of the attitude we have towards it. Please dont get me wrong as the words like attitude need to be used very carefully 😉

There were two aspects about the Tata Nano thing. I know it because I'm on an assignment with the company who did it. They provided the entire cloud environment so that engineers and designers from wherever they were could join together and work on building the site. Not only that they worked under a cloud, they hosted the site under it too. Besides there were multiple test runs, APTs and VTs being carried out on it. I'll tell you an inside fact:sshhh:. The day the site was out, it was attacked by close to 11000 hackers and phishers. It withstood the attack. Not only because of its build, but also because of the fact that it was routed from multiple servers, possible because of a cloud.

I know things have been tampered once or twice. But then what bad hasn't happened? You had a 9/11, you had a chernobyl, you had a 26/11 as well. Compare these few incidents with the millions of others where every attack was averted. Check the vodafone site and try logging in if you are a customer. Believe me, it runs fantastic.

As far as the hardware is concerned, the hosting provider maintains enough redundancy to make sure nothing is down, ever. There is an SLA adherence of 99.99%, meaning we cannot have a downtime of more than 15min in 10 years. Unbelievable isn't it? Forget days, even if the fix is delayed by matter of minutes, it can attract a penalty in millions.

Having said that... of course there is no substitute to spending good time with colleagues and friends. 😀

Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 23, 2009
Re: Cloud computing: Boon Or Bane?

I think we are already having a good discussion here.

With your permission Vishnupriya, can I merge the threads?
Re: Cloud computing: Boon Or Bane?

Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 23, 2009
Re: Cloud computing: Boon Or Bane?

Check the link and you will know. The link is right.
Re: Cloud computing: Boon Or Bane?

OOPS !!! My Apologies, Edited my last post. I Got confused by reading the link Title 😀
Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 23, 2009
Cloud Computing: Boon or Bane thread has been merged with this one
Ah right, you're talking about the future! I see, in that case, we can automatically assume challenges would be overcome then. No point of me wasting my time with all the networking technicalities to accomplish it.

I guess in the future, you wont have things like working from monitors. Your house will be an Ambient Intelligent environment. Devices would have been embedded within the walls, tables, etc. Since communication technologies would be converged by then, communications will be seamless.

So I guess the argument only lies with the human aspect. How we can behave in an isolated environment, contacting through electronic means, etc.
Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 23, 2009
Ha ha! What you are talking now is another step ahead man. Cool!
The problem with all of us is that we can imagine a future, we experience it ourselves in our wildest dreams. But we dont necessarily see the path to it being built up. Some one else goes that way, we see him doing just fine and we migrate to the new environ as well. This has happened with Mobile phones, Laptops. Remember, people used to tell that the rays from mobile phones can cause cancer and all... well almost every one has one now.

There are obvious roadblocks when it comes to accepting a new technology. But eventually we overcome it if it is worth. There is a possibility of converging the infrastructure and I'm only talking about how good or technologically advanced it is. If the bandwidth problem is solved, converting the buildings into virtual offices will be pretty easy.

And guys, I'm not advocating the fact that the human intervention should be completely shelved. Of course not! But it can be minimised wherever it is possible, allowing technology to take centre stage. Think about it, it saves lot of time, effort and money!

Imagine this- you get up at 8 in the morning. Your laptop is already on. Within seconds you are connected to your virtual world. You check your emails, complete your tasks, pay your bills and run through the daily news at the same time. By 12 noon and at that speed and agility, you are already done with your current day's work. You now have the rest of the day with you to spend at leisure, socialise, meet friends, go watch a movie etc. Or work more if you feel like. The time is optimally utilised, the money is saved and moreover your own energy is properly directed.

Makes sense?
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Jul 23, 2009
I'm thinking in future, we all will be used as 'computer add-ons'.
Not to be too off topic, but you guys read about a scientist claiming the artificial brain being 10 years away?

Who needs other humans? You'll be the boss, and your workers are all artificial. Fancy that 😉
Mayur Pathak
Mayur Pathak • Jul 23, 2009
I want you guys to watch this video on Youtube.

Just listen. Nothing much to say about it though. But brilliant answers by some of the greatest people on the Web. 😀
jhbalaji • Jul 26, 2009
It's a boom mate...

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