MT Masterclass - Mobility

What is it? Today, we're all members of the Martini workforce - 'any time, any place, anywhere'. It's no longer acceptable to fail to communicate or miss a meeting due to 'logistical difficulties'. We should all be able to hook up with our colleagues and business partners, whether 'virtually' or in the flesh. But mobility is harder to achieve in reality than the hype would suggest: think traffic, power cuts, the wrong type of snow on the railway tracks. But competition is forcing more and more of us out onto the road in search of the next deal.

Where did it come from? Remember the opening shot of Billy Wilder's classic 1960 movie The Apartment? The camera moves in on Jack Lemmon, tied to his low-tech desk, number 861 in a corporate HQ containing 31,259 employees. This is the old-style work of the black-and-white era - slow, bureaucratic and immobile. Today, mobility is all. Going global means getting out there and travelling to where the customers and markets are - which is pretty much everywhere. With the help of new technology you can stay in constant contact with HQ (that's still there, albeit reduced in size).

Where is it going? The world is going mobile. There are already 400 million mobile phone users in China. And, according to a recent survey by AC Nielsen, one in five UK companies are preparing to equip their staff with the BlackBerry wireless e-mail device. This ultimate aid to mobility, christened the 'CrackBerry' because of its addictive qualities, is the No. 1 status symbol of the mobile executive. The BlackBerry is now world-famous, attracting the attention of the world's leading hi-tech companies.

We might even see a spectacular merger one day soon. Of course, if the deal were to go sour, the headline would probably read: 'BlackBerry and Apple crumble'.

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