THE QUEST FOR THE ULTIMATE MESSENGER
I’ve always been a believer that it doesn’t matter where you work as long as you can get the job done. We, here at Warehoused Plastic Sales, started connecting people from home offices back in 1999 when I first took over the helm of IT. It’s really only been in the last few years, though, that broadband in rural areas here in Southern Ontario have evolved to the point where practically anyone can telecommute.
Beyond the need for email and the ability to shuffle electronic documents back and forth we needed to exchange ideas in real time – notice I didn’t use the word talk. The fact is people in a busy plastics distribution business are on the phone a lot and telephone tag is a big problem. So, how do we slice into those precious few seconds of available dialogue time? Instant messaging…
We played around with IRC, an old but reliable technology. Then we played with Yahoo and Microsoft’s offerings. Too, with the merger of the Prisma Plastics Partners our dialogues now extended West to BC and south of the border and East to Monteral and Quebec City. So, we needed an efficient way to video conference back and forth to minimize our travel costs. The challenge at the time was our firewall not allowing some features, especially video, to be exchanged as well as bandwidth limitations (believe it or not, in such developed city like Toronto, there are still pockets of industrial zoning where you can’t get high speed service).
SKYPE was the one tool that gave us a no-hassle voice, video, and file exchange solution. Now, MS Messenger has the video, which it didn’t when we were evaluating our options.
With some of our owners now “semi-retired” they can sit around the pool and SKYPE with the finance department 50 miles away as easy as talking strategy with their international business partners 2,400 miles away.
It’s not a perfect solution… but it’s pretty neat and does the job.