The next wave of information technologies promises greater wireless abilities and improved communication tools that will enable the virtual office to flourish. It will largely consist of improvements on what is available today rather than anything drastically new — essentially wireless integrated devices that allow people to get all their information from one place. Among the toys coming down the pike is a device that combines a mobile phone and a personal digital assistant. The so-called portable information technology services for the car involve a hard drive with a cradle to take a PDA with cellular and Internet service available.

This article warns us, however, that this doesn’t necessarily mean better office equipment. Many executives, particularly those not technologically savvy, don’t always consider workers’ needs and business goals before buying new IT tools. Companies need to use this new technology effectively to make it a good buy. Some questions to ask: Is the staff ready and trained? Are they willing to use it? Does the new technology fit in with the company culture? How will this technology help us?

Some innovations target the needs of office teams with collaborative space on the Internet for workers to view documents, discuss business and view projects. Other advances are discussed, including the digital dashboard, but the crux of this article is that “the next wave in IT will be companies learning how to best integrate technology into daily practices.”

Source: Mary K. Pratt, Boston Business Journal, May 11, 2001

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