By Patricia Hume, COO
If I was able to experience iPass years ago, maybe global travel would have been almost glamorous
When I was a young girl I dreamed that I would “travel the world”. So when I grew up, I sought out career opportunities where my work would require me to become a global road warrior…and so I did.
What I did not anticipate was that the so–called–glamour typically associated with global travel was overrated: global travel is endless, arduous airplane rides, hotels with “bleach” infested sheets (and the occasional bed bug), foam rubber pillows, and long, long days and longer nights coping with jet lag. So much for glamour! And while I was out of touch with my boss, my email, my meetings, and most importantly, my family, it was obvious that my inability to be connected had a price. The long, long days were associated with not only the number of meetings and events, but the time I needed to “catch up” on all that happened while I was in the air, on the train, crammed in another taxi, tossing and turning in the hotel, waiting in the customer lobby… you get the point.
Along comes the Internet, cellular and Wi-Fi, combining to provide the ability to be and stay connected in real time. The continued focus on allowing people to access the information or people they need when and wherever they need it, helping to mitigate a lot of potentially negative outcomes.
Before I joined iPass, I thought that I had the best possible technology to help me stay connected. I own a MacBook Air and an iPhone. I have my company email and my personal Gmail accounts on both devices. I bought a world traveler plan from my cellular provider and I am connected. Well, sort of.
I want to share an event that recently happened to me. While I was traveling to the UK and Germany as a new iPass employee, I had the distinct pleasure of experiencing life with and without iPass. My MacBook was iPass enabled; my iPhone was not (only because I was a bit lazy in getting around to the simple download required to get me started). This is what I found:
1) In the UK, the data plan that I purchased from my cellular provider was insufficient and I paid some very high costs (nearly $1,000!) for data roaming – ugh!
2) When I got to Germany and checked into my hotel, I opened my laptop and was instantly connected to the hotel Wi-Fi because this was one of the 18 million hotspots that are part of the iPass network. It was easy and stress free – I felt like I was home – nothing to do but get started on my emails and access Salesforce.com for the latest forecast updates.
3) On my travels back to the US I absolutely needed to get a Wi-Fi connection on my iPhone (I simply could not afford any additional data roaming costs). The airport boasted “free Wi-Fi,” so I turned on my Wi-Fi connection and waited for the “prompt” to fill out the form, watch the video advertisement, put in the secret code and then, and only then, get connected. However, I was at a disadvantage – the form was in German, the video could not be skipped and, as for most of us, I made typographical errors – so in the 30 minutes that I had to get my emails updated I failed – it was just not easy to get connected. Free, but not without friction – and by the way – the airport only lets you on for a limited amount of time before kicking you off or prompting you for payment on a higher-speed option.
But now I have iPass on all of my devices, and I am amazed at how wonderfully different being “always connected” feels.
Here are my take aways:
- Collaboration: Offline = out of the loop. I don’t want to be out of the loop on decisions, meeting my deadlines, or just simply knowing what is going on in email.
- Productivity: There is never a good time to fall behind on what is going on. In today’s email and data-centric world I need to be able to be productive – getting hundreds of emails a day and not being able to process them is not only non-productive, but also very stressful.
- Global reality: My office is everywhere. I travel all the time, and I need to be able to access my cloud applications and do real work no matter where I am – in a plane, in a hotel, in the office or at home.
- Ease of Use = Peace of mind: I think that most of us need things to be easy. It should not take time and energy to use applications that are supposed to enhance your productivity. It was super-simple to download iPass on my phone – no more German language based forms to fill out.
- Play: Kicking back is as important as kicking butt. There are times when I just need to kick back on the 6.5 hour flight from the west to the east coast. And now with iPass I connect seamlessly to Go-Go and do just that.
- Staying in touch with what matters most: no matter where you travel you are never that far away. As a wife and a mother of two children it is essential that I stay in touch with them whenever, wherever….
For everyone who has to travel or has a team that travels, I strongly encourage you to check us out at www.iPass.com/unlimited– we also just launched a new offering called UNLIMITED – worth a look if staying in touch with what matters most is important to you.