When the Blizzard hits you can't go to work, or can you? – seven years ago N.Y Times writer Joe Sharkey boldly proclaimed that the Internet was vastly overhyped. The blizzard that struck the Northeast also struck a chord of awareness in Joe Sharkey that caused him to rethink his dismissive statement about the Internet. Here's how he describes waking up the morning after the blizzard hit:
The morning paper wasn't out front by 6 a.m. as it usually is, but the cable modem was humming; the broadband links to e-mail and news worked fine…
He then goes on to describe the deployment of high speed Internet access in hotels, airports, and even in airplanes. Yes, he has realized that not only is the Internet a big thing to him, but it is a big thing to business travellers. And having easy access to the Internet is a boon to business travellers (which, hint, hint, is why wireless Internet access is going to explode).
I don't have to read Joe's article to see this happening. I see it happening already, even down here in New Orleans, the City That Care Forgot. Right here by the lazy Mississippi.
Okay, I'll admit wireless broadband internet not taking off like wildfire here. We are busy preparing for Mardi Gras (which is pretty much like preparing for a hurricane, except you buy more liquor). The point is, though, having pervasive access to the Internet is something people who do business have a huge need for. They just don't realize it.
But just like Joe we are starting to wake up and realize that access to information is power. If all of my files are in digital form and available to me through an Internet connection (which it goes without saying has to be high-speed) then I can work from wherever there is such a connection. If a blizzard prevents me from going to my office, I can work. If I'm stuck in a hotel room in a distant city, I can work. If I'm cooling my heels at the airport after having cleared a litany of security checkpoints, I can work. All I need is a high-speed (preferably wireless) connection. [Ernie the Attorney]