This is a guest post about Technology Changes through the eyes of Chris Thomas, our Technical Manager at DV02.
Things have changed around here
I’ve been working in Telecoms since 1995 and in that time I’ve seen a tremendous amount of change. The whole world of communications has been revolutionised by the internet, in all it’s forms. In those days home internet was expensive and slow, you had to sign up to a service provider and use a modem to dial up and would sometimes have to wait several minutes for internet pages to load. Mobile phones were an expensive and cumbersome device, network coverage could never really be relied on.
As a field engineer things were very different too. Each morning we would have to find a telephone so we could call into the office to pick up our messages, give our whereabouts and arrange deliveries of equipment to site. Sat-navs weren’t around either, so we found our way around the country using a road atlas, an A-Z and hastily scribbled down directions given to us by our customers.
What a difference
The job itself was very different too. Installing a PBX would involve a team of engineers, kilometres of cable and take several weeks. Building a server would involve tremendous amounts of effort. If I remember correctly, installing a Windows server meant sitting in front of a screen for several hours feeding in over twenty five floppy disks, one after the other, followed by specific disks for device drivers, databases and applications. Getting the customer data to load into a system usually involved driving to an office to collect a floppy disk and then driving to site.
These days it’s all very different. A virtual server can be built in minutes from an image file, software applications are downloaded from the vendors website. No more floppy disks!! A PBX can be installed and fully working in a couple of days. IP telephony means that you can rip out all of the masses of cable that used to be required. An Mitel (formerly Aastra) MX-ONE can be fitted into standard data rack instead of taking up the whole corner of a room.
I think the biggest change I seen over these last eighteen years is mobility. The ability to communicate effectively whilst on the move. Firstly, Sat-Nav with built in traffic management means I can travel the country avoiding any delays. Mobile phones have faster internet than we could dream of back in 1995. We can send emails, pictures, video clips at the touch of a screen. I can use my iPad to access a server back in my office and do quick bits of work while sitting on a train. My laptop is fitted with a 3G data card, meaning I can work from the passenger seat of my car in a lay by on the A34 if needed.
Stable, high speed business broadband at home means that I don’t need to be in the office in order to be productive. I can do anything, from anywhere. Weather becomes less of an issue, I don’t need to think about driving in the snow.
My carbon footprint is reduced, I save time by not travelling when I don’t need to. Clever applications like the Mitel (formerly Aastra) Mobility Client means that I can use my mobile phone as if it were a desk phone. Free-seating means that on the occasions that I visit the office I can sit at any desk and log on to the system with my DDI number. Microsoft Lync, with it’s integration into our MX-ONE and outlook calendar, means that my presence is shown to my colleagues. They can see if I’m in a meeting, on the phone or busy concentrating on something.
DV02 offers all of these services to our customers, and it makes sense that I can take advantage of them too. Things have definitely improved since 1995.