By Kimberley on Nov 16, 2006
One of the challenges of working from home is staying "visible" and connected to the rest of the team.   Oh sure, we can send out an email every so often...   Kinda like "pinging" the rest of the organisation.   Or we can SMS and phone everyone just to stay in touch.   But this is rather artificial.
For Sun offices, we have video conferencing to help connect people during meetings.   But it is heavy weight and expensive, and is not a solution for connecting folks who are working from home.
Last Friday, one of the meetings I regularly attend (remotely of course) was hosted from a meeting room in our Menlo Park campus.   The room chosen this time happens to have a live WebCam.   (Yup, sometimes it is covered up, but it is always on.)   So, those of us who were not in the room were able to watch those who were.   It was a fast, lightweight, cheap alternative to video conferencing and worked a treat.   It was cool.
We've tried using WebCams before over the past several years, but they were poor quality, clunky, horrible things, and never really took off.
Technology has come a long way over the years.   WebCam quality has improved, they are more network friendly, and prices have come down.   At the same time, more and more people are working remotely, going into the office less often.
Is it inevitable one will become a tool of the other?   Will we soon be listing WebCam URL's along with our telephone numbers and Email addresses?   Will wearing pajamas to work go out of fashion again?