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The ShoreTel Digital Nomad

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I am a digital nomad.

In the three years that I have been part of the ShoreTel team, I’ve learned and thrived in my nomadic work style. Traveling from state-to-state and now country-to-country (in case you missed the memo, I live in the United Kingdom now), living off of cafe and hotel Wi-Fi as I go along has become the norm for me.

And I embrace it.

A digital nomad, by definition, is one who moves from place-to-place to work. Be it at a home office, a hotel, airport or coffee shop, the ability to get things done no matter where your feet happen to have you at a particular time is a defining characteristic of a digital nomad.

Being a digital nomad is not as difficult as it use to be back just five years ago. Back then Wi-Fi wasn’t everywhere. (Myth #1- Wi-Fi is hard to find in Europe. FALSE.) And it was even more difficult to be tied into the corporate infrastructure even if you were able to get online. You had to do unnatural acts to get your computer to connect to the corporate network or, worse, you were an island working for the corporation and then having to upload-slash-update later in the day.

Not really nomadic. More like forced isolation.

In 2013 the game is a lot different. Wi-Fi is everywhere, literally. As I compose this post from a coffee shop in my home town of Windsor, England, a quick glance of my iPhone shows me no less than 10 wireless networks around me, four of which are available to me for free or low cost. That Wi-Fi is the gateway to everything I need. My email comes to me on my iPhone and iPad without me having to do anything. I can compose an email, create a document or spreadsheet and everything else I would normally do on a PC on my iPad. In fact, you will rarely see me sitting here in a coffee shop with my trusty MacBook Pro. I don’t need it for 95% of what I do. (This blog is being written on my iPad.)

That percentage will continue to increase thanks to ShoreTel technologies. I already use ShoreTel Mobility heavily. It is on my iPhone and I can make and receive calls over Wi-Fi, effectively eliminating the bulk my mobile charges each day/week/month. Sure there are times where I have to tap into GSM but that is becoming the exception. If you need to get hold of me, it will be on my ShoreTel extension. Nobody - not even most of my co-workers - have my mobile number. They don’t need it. They only need one number to get me. It saves them time trying to figure out where to call me.

For my colleagues within ShoreTel, they can see when I’m available by checking my Presence status inside either Communicator on their PC or on their own Mobility client. They can also instant message me through the client just like they can on Communicator. So even as I sit here in my local coffee shop they can get hold of me either by calling my extension (4 digit dialing FTW) or by Instant Message.

No PC involved.

And the future of ShoreTel Mobility is stunning. One of the benefits of being on the inside is you get to see things a little early. What we are bringing to Mobility is nothing short of impressive. If you are a partner reading this blog post, stop. Go sign up for Mobility training and get certified. I’ll wait. You will need it because we are about to make a tsunami in the corporate-meets-mobile-meets-unified communications sea.

But being a digital nomad isn’t just about making phone calls and Instant Messaging. It’s about collaborating. I’m not an island. I’m ShoreTel. I bleed orange. I’ve never worked in a place where I cared about the future of my company let alone be a driving force within it. To shape the future we as an organization have to collaborate - internally and externally - to make it happen. Doing that through Mobility?  Easy enough. But what about sharing a presentation, or working through an idea?

ShoreTel Conferencing is the answer. Agnostic for PCs or Macs, Conferencing allows me to share my desktop, documents even videos easily. As a digital nomad, we made my life all that much easier this past week with the release of our Conferencing app for iOS. Now on my iPhone or iPad not only can I participate in a conference, I can share files from my iPhone or iPad on the conference. This isn’t a “look inside” app - this is a full participation app. I can even ask questions of the presenters (or receive them if I’m presenting) right from within the app, just like I can on my Mac.

So, let’s run through the digital nomad checklist:

  • Corporate phone rings to my mobile - CHECK
  • Colleagues can instant message me on my mobile - CHECK
  • Work from anywhere and save my company money - CHECK
  • Provide my partners/customers one number to reach me no matter my location - CHECK
  • Participate in a web conference from my mobile from anywhere - CHECK
  • Share my presentation from my iPad, not my PC or Mac - CHECK
  • Refill of my latte as I complete another blog post for ShoreTel – CHECK

BYOD is an overused acronym in our tech savvy world today but it is part of the equation. Digital Nomad is an underused term. We are all digital nomads at some level be it a work from home now-and-then or a road warrior. The question is will your corporate telephony, collaboration and mobility solutions really allow you to be effective while you are nomadic?

At ShoreTel, the answer is an unequivocal yes.