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Mice Net : August 2008
technology 6. Personal VoIP – Skype or similar programs 7. Video VoIP – sound and pictures 8. Instant messaging – MSN Messenger or dozens of other offerings from Google, Yahoo, etc. 9. SMS – short message service. But this is morphing into MMS (multimedia messaging service) and who knows what is next. 10. Social networking – Facebook, MySpace and dozens of other sites designed to facilitate interpersonal communications. 11. Collaboration tools such as internet blogs and forums 12. Chat rooms So what does this all mean? Well for starters hyper-connected people will have several email addresses, several phone numbers, dozens of logins and passwords and spend a significant portion of their day just trying to be available and or answer communications quickly. But more importantly they now expect to stay hyper-connected demanding low or no cost internet and data access via free wireless or wi-fi hotspots in hotels and meeting venues. The trend in the US and Europe is to provide that service either low cost or free – I hope Australia picks up on that too. A couple of years ago Event Planners introduced free wi-fi access for delegates at the conferences we organise. We advised delegates that they could connect their wi-fi enabled PDA or notebook for free at the event and it is amazing to see the number of users taking advantage of this. It has been so popular that we have started to provide additional tables with power and even a printer. One event I attend now uses classroom setup for all sessions with wi-fi and power to all tables to allow delegates to attend sessions and keep in touch. Is that rude? Is it impolite to the speaker? Well possibly, but it’s a fact of life. Already half a million Gen Y’s use internet-enabled phones to access their Facebook site several times a day (yes, even in conference sessions). I think it is becoming expected that you will always be connected and we have to accommodate this trend. Isn’t it better to have delegates sitting in the conference sessions regardless of whether they are paying 100 per cent attention to the speaker? From what I have seen many are using the notebook to take notes about what was being said anyway. Unified communications is what it is really about. It is time that the telecommunications providers (who make a motza from all this communication and even more from the various redirections required to route emails and other comms to you), and developers, introduce one universal locator number for life and develop software that seamlessly directs all forms of voice, data and other communications to one convenient pocket-sized device that can do it all. It is not far away. Today that might be via a PDA/smartphone and tomorrow it may be as simple as having an embedded chip in your body and hooked directly into your aural and visual cortex. Fine as long as there is an off switch! Ray Shaw is an accredited meeting manager (AMM), IT journalist and chairman of Event Planners Australia. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www. eventplanners.com.au. Australia’s Leading Vocal Ensemble Available for corporate events from October 2008. Music from the distant past to the present, including witty barbershop quartets, traditional Christmas carols from many cultures and times, medieval folk tunes, the latest contemporary classical music from around the world, jazz, soul and arrangements of pop. Perfect for an audience who love to be surprised by the beauty of drama and song. Impeccable, Surprising, Engaging, Challenging Over 130 performances a year worldwide. Limited availability, please book well in advance. The Song Company Contact: Andrew Batt-Rawden email@example.com ph: 0430 120 327 Pier 5, The Wharf, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, NSW 2000 www.songcompany.com.au