Communication Options

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Communication Options

Postby Jason » Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:22 pm

Ok. I need help. I've got a psuedo-assignment at work and I'm hoping you guys can help me out with this. I'm supposed to try and figure out ways to increase the connectivity of our employees. The main problem is that we're a contractor so most of our people are at customer sites that don't have access to the internet. We need to have these people connect to our local VPN or intranet so they check they're company email and websites more often. Can you guys think of ways to do this?

So far the options I've got:
- Pay for a laptop and internet connection for all employees
- Pay for a T-Mobile sidekick for all employees

That's about it.

Along the lines of the sidekick: Jonathan can you access secure sites with your sidekick? Is the email only POP3 or can you use an exchange server? How easy would it be to type a lot with the sidekick? Any other usability concerns?
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Postby quantus » Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:43 pm

I'd say laptop and dial-up with VPN for all employees is the way to go. The caveat is that people have to not attach large files or the dial-up users are screwed. Instead start posting files on the internal web space for the person who sends it and provide a link in the email. To enforce this policy and even cut down on email virii, the IT guys might consider just stripping attachments off of all mail sent from within the company.
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Postby quantus » Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:45 pm

Oh, and just think, you've now given everyone a UPS as a bonus!
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Postby Jonathan » Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:56 pm

Sidekick only handles AOL mail and POP3. It does not sync with Exchange or Outlook. There are enterprise solutions in the wireless handheld space if that's the kind of thing you need. RIM's Blackberry line is the most prominent among them, but there are also PocketPC and Palm products. These things will sync with Outlook and Exchange, and are sold in big batches.

I use a VPN for work. This is good because I can access all work things from home just as if I was in the office. The way this is paid for, of course, is that no one has a desktop. I have my Linux workstation and a Windows 2000 laptop and that's it.

I use the Sidekick for essentially all my personal email. The form factor works well for email. Web access works well with a good signal, but with poor signal it can be frustrating. SSL connections are supported. Some file formats aren't supported. If your company has lots of data in, say, Powerpoint format, then you really need a laptop. Another thing to consider is security. Stuff traveling over any of the digital cellular networks is not secure.

I also know that certain employees have events tied to their pagers. So, if the netbatch queue hits 10000 jobs, then Rick gets a page somehow. I don't know how this kind of automated paging is set up, but if there are only high priority items that distant employees must be notified about, it could work.
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