Out of Office & Decline All Meetings – using Viva Insights

One of the most popular posts on this site is one that described how to set an out-of-office and decline all your meeting while you are away from the screen using Outlook on the Web.

I’m really pleased with how popular this post is because I’m encouraged that people are taking the appropriate hygiene actions to protect their time away.

The challenge with the original method, for many, is that it was only available in Outlook on the Web, and not within people’s desktop Outlook where much of the world’s email is still processed.

That has all changed recently with Viva Insights now having the Out of Office and Decline All Meetings capabilities.

Viva Insights

If you open Viva Insights, you are likely to see an option to Plan your time away I’ve also seen it show a slightly different widget called Time away:

Plan your time away
Time away

Once you open this widget you are taken through a step-by-step process to schedule time off, clear out your calendar and inform collaborators.

The first step is to schedule your time away, which you need to do before you can move to the next step:

Select dates

Once you have selected the dates you then have a set of actions available:

Time away options

The various actions work as follows:

  • Set automatic replies – this is the good old out-of-office message.
  • Notify collaborators – creates a meeting notice to tell co-workers that you are away. The widget suggests a list of collaborators based on who you regularly communicate with.
  • Resolve meetings – gives you the option to cancel meetings throughout your time away. I love that feeling as your calendar empties.
  • Book time to focus – encourages you to book additional time to focus before you leave and when you return:
Book time to focus

A bit more information over on the Microsoft Viva site.

The only small complaint that I have is that Viva Insights doesn’t respect my local device date format, being British I don’t think in month-day. (Having said that I’ve always been puzzled why anyone thinks that month-day-year is a sensible order 😉.)

Time away is an important part of a productive life, it’s not an optional extra. We need to be intentional about protecting that time away and I’m hoping that even more people will use the tools available to them.

Header Image: Shortly after sunrise over Derwentwater. This is the view from the top of Latrigg on a frosty Autumnal morning looking out towards Derwentwater and down through Borrowdale.

Out of Office & Decline All Meetings – Outlook on the Web

As we approach this holiday season I thought I would share with you a productivity trick that you should absolutely use – assuming you are an Office 365 user.

Here’s the scenario.

You are about to take some days off and you want to block out your calendar, you also want to decline all of the meetings that people have decided are important to you, what’s more, you’d like to decline any meeting invitation for those precious days and to cancel any recurring meeting that you have set up.

In Outlook on the web, the Office 365 client that you use through a browser, Microsoft have made this really, really easy to do, right there in the Automatic Replies interface.

Automatic Replies on Outlook on the web

The Automatic Replies interface isn’t the easiest thing to find, so let’s start there.

  • Click on the gear icon in the top right corner.
  • Click on “View All Outlook Settings” at the bottom of this interface.
  • Select the “email” section where you’ll find “Automatic Replies”.

Once you turn on automatic replies and “Send replies only during a time period” it will show you three extra options.

  • “Block my calendar for this period” – is self explanatory and will create an “away” event in your calendar for the dates defined.
  • “Automatically decline new invitations for events that occur during this period” – again, self explanatory, if a little wordy.
  • “Decline and cancel my meetings during this period” – this is where the gold is. Select this and you’ll get another dialogue asking how you would like the meetings declined including the response text. You also get a full list of the scheduled meetings so you can selectively retain some meetings, but why you would want to do that is beyond me.

Be warned though, I’ve found that people aren’t used to others actually declining meetings, so when they get a flood of emails for the 50 meetings that they have scheduled with you it can lead to some frustration.

For anyone wondering why this feature isn’t in the “full client” then it’s worth understanding that Outlook on the web is the target for all of these innovations. Browser based development is quicker and far easier to deploy, the “full client” is always going to be further behind.

Update: Much of this capability is now available in Viva Insights in Outlook.

Header image: a misty morning walk on one of my regular routes.

More Features = Lower Utility: Watching the TV

Not all change, is change for the better. We may get more features, but do we get more utility.


Once upon a time an evening at home was a simple activity.

Having completed the necessary activities it would become time to watch the TV. There was a simple choice available from a few over-the-air channels, the choice was tiny, but I don’t remember ever being lost for something to watch.

Deciding on which of the four-way choices to watch meant opening one of a number of magazines to see the now and next options. The lack of choice made this easy.

The transition to the main event – watching a programme – took a few seconds.

There was only one screen to watch and we all watched the same thing.


(Last night to be precise)

Having completed the evening’s activities we sat down and decided to turn on the TV. In our current configuration we also need to turn on a companion box from the local cable company. The list of available programmes is staggering and we scroll through the list for a few minutes before settling on a particular channel.

Once that programme had finished we again scrolled through the list of available channels. Not seeing anything we particularly wanted to watch we scrolled through the list of available programmes that the companion box had decided to record for us. I used to know why this box recorded what it recorded, but it’s evolved to have a level of free will while it’s been with us and now chooses which programmes to record for itself. I considered moving over to one of the streaming services, in order to gain further choice, but these run so slowly on this box that the wait is excruciating for a brain that has been conditioned to expect immediate gratification.

Returning to the list of available programmes we settled on something that would get us through to bed time.

We were tired though, and decided to move our watching to the screen in the bedroom after a few minutes. The channel we were watching was one that was also available over-the-air from that screen. Unfortunately there was a problem with the over-the-air signal and all we got were a set of occasionally moving blocks and an intermittent soundbite. This is a recent problem which I had forgotten about, other channels are fine, but this one is unusable in its current state. A false start, but I wasn’t going to be defeated.

That’s OK, I thought, we can do this a different way, this screen has one of the popular streaming devices available to it and there’s an app for the channel that we were watching.

Switching over to the streaming device isn’t as easy as it may sound because I need to get out of bed to plug it into the back of the screen. We remove it occasionally because it interferes with the over-the-air signal. The streaming box always needs restarting in this situation, which takes a few minutes.

Thankfully the streaming box didn’t do the optimisation thing that it decides to do at the least convenient times. It clearly took pity on me because it knew what was about to come.

Once the streaming box had started I navigated to the appropriate app for the programme we wanted to watch. Like many of these apps this one has recently started asking me to authenticate myself. Authentication was to be done via a URL and a supplied PIN code. One of my evening rules is to leave my smartphone downstairs, so out of bed I get and retrieve the required touchscreen interface. Before I could enter the PIN I needed to authenticate to the web site via the URL. Having tried to log in with the email address that I use for such things I eventually conclude that I haven’t previously registered for this particular app – so I registered. Registering also meant validating my email address via an email notice. Having jumped all of the hurdles I entering the PIN and gained access to the app. The end was starting to felt like it was within reach.

Once I was within the app I used the search interface to find the particular programme. I don’t know how these apps decide what goes on the front page, but it never reflects the programmes I watch. Search on these apps is never that good, particularly as you need to enter the characters via a remote control interface a letter at a time – left-left-left-up-click-right-right-down-down-click-right-right-right-right-right-right-up-up-up-up-click.

Eventually the programme I was looking for showed up in the search recently, all I needed to do now was to decide which episode we had been watching. Thankfully, I picked the right one straightaway, but how far through were we? Time to fast forward, which highlighted another challenge, this particular app didn’t show a preview of where you were, so I just had to keep guessing. Another few minutes lost.

More than twenty minutes later we were back to were we had been before me made the journey up the stairs.

This isn’t the only app like this though, there are at least six different ones on my streaming box and each of them requires a different authentication. One of them loves to forget my credentials and it’s almost become routine to enter my details every time I use it.

I haven’t worked it out but between 15% and 20% of my viewing time last night was taken up with navigating the technology. Yes, I have access to unbelievable amounts of content but why does it have to be so difficult to watch a programme? Was the programme I fought to watch worth the 15% to 20% tax – no.

Predictions: “in about 15 years” | “within the next 10 years” | “25 years from now”

Imagine that the year is 2032.

What do you foresee?

What dramatic change has occurred?

How has your daily life change?

You are almost certainly wrong. We like to think that we can see the next 10, 15 even 20 years, but the reality is that we are very poor at it.

In 1955 we predicted: “Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years.” Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

As I child I would watch Tomorrow’s World and marvel at the impending future that it outlined. Here’s one from 1969 imagining the Office of the Future (there are two articles in this clip, the Office of the Future is in the first couple of minutes):

Even then we imagined robots doing our bidding even if it was one that looked more like a teasmaid than R2D2.

It’s interesting to see how many of these functional predictions happened, but in completely different ways – look out for the huge camera that fulfils the purpose many people use a mobile phone camera for today.

This wasn’t really “tomorrow’s” world being shown many of the functions shown that have been revolutionised took another 20 to 30 years to become mainstream. Many of the functions still aren’t mainstream and i’m not sure we would want them if they were.

How about this one outlining “Cassette Navigation” from 1971:

The use of GPS based navigation systems is second nature to most of us, but that was only possible when the GPS network was completed in 1994 and even then it didn’t become mainstream until the mid-2000’s when the likes of Garmin, TomTom and Magellan created the market.  Whilst GPS based SatNav systems do a functionally similar thing to the Cassette Navigation system their implementation is completely different and I doubt that anyone seeing the Cassette Navigation system imagined a future SatNav system. Again, this wasn’t “tomorrow’s” world, this was a problem that wouldn’t be solved for another 25 years.

In 2010 Jerry Zucker said: “It’s Moore’s Law, everything will be obsolete in 10 years – I’ll be obsolete in 10 years!” in reference to the iPad. It’s nearly the end of 2017 and I don’t see the iPad, or Jerry Zucker, being obsolete in the next couple of years.

Whilst we are terrible at predicting the longer term future it is fortunately for us most things progress along predictable pathways most of the time.

Within IT we are currently telling ourselves that we are living in a world of unparalleled and rapidly expanding automation, but we’ve been in that would since the invention of the Spinning Jenny in 1764, and arguably for millennia before that. What we are seeing now is the next step in the pathway that has been running for over 250 years.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to imagine a future, or even try to predict it, we just need to be careful how much trust we place in our ability to predict.

I suspect that science fiction writers and film makers have done a better job than many of us deeply embedded in today’s technology. Minority Reports, which was 15 years old in 2017, was apparently a quite a good predictor of a number of technologies. I’m still waiting for my flying car though.

“I never think of the future, it comes soon enough.” Albert Einstein

Chris Milk: How virtual reality can create the ultimate empathy machine

One of the methods that I use to keep up-to-date with technology is to listen to all sorts of podcasts and then to look into some of the people that they highlight.

Today I was listening to a TED Radio Hour episode where they highlighted the work of Chris Milk and his use of Virtual Reality as a way of deepening the connections between people.

The films are beautiful and moving, even without a VR headset:

Do we have a truth problem?

What is truth?

It’s a question that philosophers have debated over for millennia. Such philosophical debates are well beyond the remit of what I would normally talk about on this blog and I’m not going to change that with this post.

I only raise the question because I think we are increasingly struggling with understanding what is true.

Recently someone told me a story as if it were fact and then proceeded to tell me that it had to be true because they checked on Google! Is Google a keeper of truth?

The BBC recently highlighted a set of false rumours that were circulating around the Internet regarding the Nepal earthquakes.

Dramatic footage and images have emerged from Nepal, showing the devastation caused by the most deadly earthquake in the country in 81 years. But amid the authentic pictures are fake footage and viral hoaxes.

One of the biggest: On Facebook and YouTube, various versions of a video were erroneously described as closed-circuit television footage from a Kathmandu hotel. They show an earthquake causing violent waves in a swimming pool. The video was picked up by internationalmedia – including one of the BBC’s main news bulletins – and has been viewed more than 5m times. However it’s not from Nepal – it appears to have been be taken during an earthquake in Mexico, in April 2010.

Someone went through the effort of scrubbing the date stamp from the video to make it more believable! Even the BBC wasn’t sure about truth?

I don’t think a month goes by without someone sending me an email, tweet or Facebook post about some scare story that I need to respond to. Not one of them has been true?

In a world where information is replicated, sent, favourited, retweeted and recreated by billions of taping fingers and thousands of robots, how do we recognise the tellers of truth? In that same world how do we use the indexers of information to validate truth?

Google isn’t trying to be a truth teller – it’s just answering the questions you ask it from the index of information that it has.

How was a  parents told about the Game of 72 to know that is was completely fake?

We’ve had systems of trust for generations that have relied upon personal relationships and having proven track record. Most people know someone who they can rely on to tell the truth, likewise most of us know someone who’s words aren’t worth the breath that created them.

Once we started writing we began to place our trust in those doing the writing.  When it came to news, the journalist became our teller of truth.

Then came the radio and the television and the journalist retained their position.

The position of the journalist is under massive pressure though. The pressure to report ever more rapidly means that they have less time to validate a story. The ownership of news organisations creates problems when the owners want to portray a particular viewpoint. Revenue reduction for newspapers means that fewer journalists are covering more news.

We are becoming increasingly sceptical about the truth-telling of journalist.

That’s just one sphere of truth – the news.

How many times have you read about a new scientific study only to be told a month later that another one contradicts it.

The following diagram shows the diversity of outcomes from studies on foods and cancer:

How do you tell the truth from that? Should I drink tea or avoid it?

We are become increasingly sceptical about the truth-telling of scientist.

If we have a problem with journalists and scientists how do we decide who is trustworthy? Who are our tellers of truth?

I think we need a new set of skills to help us, or perhaps it’s just the same old skills but used in a new way. We need to learn how to do our own investigating. We need to learn to wait for stories to mature and for the truth to become clear. We need to become questioners.

"The Rise of Dynamic Teams" – Alan Lepofsky and Bryan Goode

Continuing my review of some of the sessions from Microsoft Ignite 2015 the title The Rise of Dynamic Teams caught my attention.

When I saw that the presenters were Alan Lepofsky and Bryan Goode it was definitely going to be one to watch.

This session has an overarching question raised by Alan:

Could you be more effective at work?

Well of course I can.

All I had to do is to think back to the last time I was frustrated at work and there clearly presented was an opportunity to be more effective.

Promised Productivity

Alan also highlight that we’ve been promised improved productivity for decades now, but in his opinion not really been delivered it.

My personal opinion is that we have improved our productivity, but mostly by doing the same things quicker, rather than working in different way. A good example of this is email where we send far more messages far quicker, but definitely less effectively.

Framing the problem

Many of us can recognise the issue of information overload. We use many different systems and are fed information all the time.

Alan frames a different problem which I also recognise – input overload. This is the problem we experience when we think about creating something and can’t decided what it is we are creating or where we are putting it – Which tool should I use? Where did I post it?

The point is that we now have a multitude of choices of tools so we don’t necessarily need more tools, but we do need to tools to be simpler and to collaborate together.

Best of Breed v Integrated Suites

Alan reflects on two distinct approaches to collaborative tooling – one which focusses on the best of breed capabilities and one which takes a suite of collaborative capabilities.

These are illustrated below:

Best of Breed Collaboration Tools

Suites Collaboration Tools

The key to the suites approach is the content of the centre combined with the ability to integrate third-party capability and have data portability.

I’m not sure I would put everything in the centre that Alan does but I wholly agree with the principal. One of the significant challenges with a suite approach is that by choosing a suite you risk creating a lock-in situation. This lock-in isn’t necessarily one of data lock-in, what’s more likely is capability lock-in.

Intelligent Collaboration

Alan explains what he means by Intelligent Collaboration:

“This is poised to be the coolest shift we’ve had in collaboration tools we’ve had in 20 years”

“The ability for us to start doing really cool things based on intelligence is really going to dramatically change the way we work”

In the Microsoft approach this intelligence will initially be focussed on the individual, but will then extend to teams and organisations.

The systems that we have today have a very limited view of context and what view they do have they tend not to use with any intelligence. Take the simple example of email build-up during a holiday period. You can set up an out-of-office response, but wouldn’t it be great if something more intelligent happened.

If we take that simple example and add onto it all of the sensors that will soon be reporting on our well-being and location. You can then imagine getting a response from your bosses intelligent assistant asking you to attend a meeting on her behalf because her flight back from holiday has been placed into quarantine due to an outbreak of a virus for which she is show the initial symptoms.

Adding to the context will enable many more intelligent interaction.

Imagine a digital assistant system that made decisions based on – location, time, time-zone, emotional state, physical state and many more.

The Rise of the Dynamic Team

This is the point in the session where Bryan Goode adds the Microsoft perspective. He does this by focussing on:

Modern Collaboration

The perspective defined by Bryan is that teams will continue to utilise many different tools and will be increasingly mobile.

Microsoft are also investing heavily in meeting experiences, something that is in desperate need of improvement for all of us.

Intelligent Fabric

In order to enable modern collaboration Bryan talks through the Microsoft view of the need for an Intelligent Fabric.

Two examples of this fabric being built are Office 365 Groups and Office Graph.

Office 365 Groups provide a unified capability across the Office 365 tools for the creation of teams. A group created in one of the Office 365 tools will be visible in all of the other tools – Sites, OneDrive, Yammer, Exchange. Doing this makes a group a fabric entity rather than being locked into any particular tool.

Office Graph brings together all of the signalling information from the Office 365 tools and any other integrated tools. It’s role is to bring together the meta-data from different interactions and activities.

Personalised Insight

An Intelligent Fabric is one thing, but creating value from it is the important part.

In the presentation Bryan demonstrates Office Delve which utilises the signalling from Office Graph to create personal insights.

The personal insights currently focus on the individual, but they are being extended to provide insights for groups and organisations.

“Teamwork is becoming a first-class entity across our products”

Bryan Goode

I’m not going to explain the demonstrations other than to say that they are worth watching, as is the rest of the presentation.


Productivity and collaboration are going to be a defining features of future organisations as can be seen from the posts that I wrote on the Productive Workplace.

Microsoft is in a position to generate a lot of innovation and disruption by building on top of the Office 365 ecosystem. Groups, Graph and Delve are just the start of that. Having released themselves from the shackles of delivery by Enterprise IT organisation they can potential move at a pace that places them ahead of the pack.


The presentation and video for this session is here.

The video is also embedded below:


Thought Experiment: Glasses Tracker

Yesterday I was doing a job which required me to go up into a loft. Before I could get into the loft I needed to get to the cupboard where the loft hatch was, this meant opening up a number of locked doors. Once inside the cupboard I need to move a number of tables out then open the loft hatch and secure the ladder. It was only then I could go up into the loft space and get on with my work.

Having completed my work I did the same set of things in reverse: descend ladder, replace loft hatch, replace tables and lock doors.

A short while later I was sat at a desk having finished off the rest of the job. It was then that I picked up my keys and looked for my glasses. I expected the glasses to be on the desk, but they weren’t. Where were they? Then it occurred to me – “I wonder if I’ve left them in the loft”. Sure enough, after going through the process again, the loft is exactly where my eye-wear was.

Some years ago I left a set of glasses at Manchester airport on my way out on a business trip. On my return I visited the lost-property office to see if some kind person had handed them in. The friendly man behind the counter asked me the date on which I’d left my glasses he the took out a draw from a cabinet which was at least two metres by one metre.  The tray was full of hundreds of pairs of glasses and represented only a few days of misplaced eye-wear, some of which were very bizarre.  My spectacles weren’t there.

This got me thinking, in this world of shrinking electronics and the Internet of Things, why don’t we have GPS traceable glasses. There are clearly some styles of glasses with very little room for anything, but some of the designs have probably got ample space to store the required gadgetry?  Perhaps it’s enough to have them Bluetooth traceable, but GPS tracking would be better. Bluetooth might have resolved my loft problem, but I think it would have been less likely to have resolved my airport problem. Wouldn’t that be a great differentiator for the glasses manufacturers?

Some people have already thought about something similar:

  • Glasses TrackR – This seems to do a lot of what I want but it’s still a bit big. I like the 2-way ringer function to, which enables you to find your phone from your glasses. The limitation of 100 feet is going to be a common problem though.
  • LOOK – This is a Bluetooth variant that is more stylish, but it’s still an extra something attached to your glasses. Using Bluetooth gives it a 50 feet range which would be OK, but it’s still not GPS.

Both of these are currently concepts looking for funding, perhaps I should invest?

The challenge as always, is going to be power. You can pretty much guarantee that the time when you need this function will be the time when the batteries have dies. It’s also power that limits the range of the device, anyone who has GPS enabled on their phone knows what a power drain it can be.

So we’ve still got a way to go before this can become a reality, but it’s tantalizingly close.

Concept video for the LOOK:

BYOD and Personal Knowledge Management

Not so long ago people would go to work at a set time and work exclusively on equipment and applications provided by the employer. At the end of the day they would go home and do whatever they wanted to do using their stuff. But now the line between work and life is now a complete jumble for many.

Wintry Walk on Fare Snape Fell(I am going to refer to work-and-life in this post as if they are two distinct things as a way of contrasting the challenge, but that whole concept is also going through significant disruption which I may cover at a later date)

Personal knowledge management used to be similarly straightforward with work stuff in one place, life stuff in another place. Take diaries as an example, I used to run a home diary and a work diary. If truth be known, Sue used to run my home diary and I would focus all of my energy on the work diary. This situation was only complicated when either the work requirements or the life requirements would break into one of the other’s area. School plays during the day would require a special entry in my work diary to make sure I was there. Likewise overnight business trips would need a special entry in the life diary.

This situation was never ideal, but worked quite well with few issues. One of the huge advantages of this situation was the people at my employer could see my availability and schedule meetings with me because my availability was visible to all.

In a BYOD world it would be, just about, acceptable to make both my diaries available on all my devices, but that’s not really resolving the challenge or addressing the changing culture. Running multiple diaries has never been ideal and leads to all sorts of issues when things clash.

The real requirement is for me to see a single diary, I don’t mind whether it’s made up of a number of diaries, but I need to see it as one. That diary needs to be embedded into my mobile experience so that I can use all of the functions of my mobile device. Portions of my availability need to be visible to different interested groups. I need to be able to set parameters on my availability for those groups because I don’t want a completely blended lifestyle where I’m available to everyone 24 by 7. I want event information from one group (project team) to be available to another group (family) so that sensible decisions can be made. In other words I want a completely blended diary experience which has been personalised to my requirements and way of working.

I could just opt out and run a single personal diary with no visibility to others but that would not be very helpful to people who want to schedule time with me. I used to have a boss who did that and it was impossible to schedule anything with him, particularly as the only diary that he regarded as truth was the paper one in his hands at all times.

Another alternative is to run two diaries and to copy everything from one to another. The natural choice for doing this would be to make the life diary the master and to copy everything from the work diary into it, but that just leads to another challenge, what to do about data privacy. Would my employer really want my family to have access to a report with sensitive financial information in it? A diary entry isn’t just about the scheduling information; it’s also about all of the associated content.

My purpose in this discussion is to use diary information as an example of the complications of running any form of personal knowledge management system in a world where work technology and life technology are the same, and where the separation between them is a complete jumble. The same challenges apply to to-do lists, note taking, reading lists, document stores, and all manner of personal knowledge management techniques.

These challenges are multiplied when we want others to collaborate with us in our personal knowledge management system.

We are going to see many ways of resolving these challenges that break the current paradigms and move us to a far more personal way of working. Doodle is an example of a different way of thinking about team scheduling that works across personal diaries. There are many people thinking about the to-do list and note taking most of which are being delivered as cloud services built to interact with personal applications. This continued shift to personal is going to significantly change the way that individuals and teams interact, collaborate and do work. As always the technology shift is the smaller part of a much larger cultural shift.

As a person I’m the one who is enabled and approved for access to all sorts of data. In the future I am expecting to be able to have a personal life assistant which is going to need access to all of my sources of data to enact upon them, but that’s another challenge requiring another paradigm shift.

A Virtual Desktop Analogy – Rooms and Properties

One of the techniques that I like to use when discussing technology with customers and colleagues is analogy. I find that it helps to break through the barriers of technology terminology and acronyms. It creates a picture in people’s heads that they can relate to.

Granddad wonders what a virtual desktop is?I’ve recently really enjoyed reading the analogy for Virtual Desktops put forward by Andreas Groth on IBM’s Thoughts on the Cloud Blog:

The virtual desktop arena is particularly mired in terminology and acronyms. For starters, what is a desktop anyway? Is it the top of this desk I’m sitting at? Is it the device that’s sitting on top of the desk? Is it the layout of the things on the screens that I am looking at? Well, of course, it’s all three of them depending on the context, even though the device that I’m currently using is a laptop. What does virtual really mean anyway? So when we start talking about shared virtual desktops, persistent virtual desktops, dedicated virtual desktops, local virtual desktops, pooled virtual desktops, etc. it just adds to the confusion. Virtual applications anyone?

Andreas’ analogy uses different residency types (hotels, private residence, etc.) as a parallel for the different virtual desktop types.

  • The hotel is analogous to the basic pooled virtual desktop approach. It has all of the basic capabilities you require. It’s the same every time you go into it because it’s serviced. You’re allowed to take some of your own stuff in, but you have to take it with you when you go.
  • The private residence is analogous to the dedicated virtual desktop approach. It’s yours, you can do what you like inside it. If you break it then you’ll have to fix it yourself, or hire someone in to do a professional repair. You may check into a hotel room while it’s being fixed, but it won’t be home.

He then extends this parallel to look at the different perspectives that people have about the residency – the occupier sees things differently to the property manager.

A really good analogy isn’t there to provide all of the answers, it’s there to help you get a different insight, and this one does.

It provides the insight about why people don’t really like the hotel approach (pooled virtual desktops). They generally have no technical reason, or even a functional reason for disliking it, it’s just that the desktop experience has become personal to them and you can’t really personalise a hotel room. Likewise, some people will, given the choice, always live in a hotel, because they like the way it’s serviced.

Another insight is the difference in costs and charging models. You generally pay for a hotel on a per-night basis, but you take out a longer term relationship for a private residence. Perhaps we are doing ourselves is disservice by viewing them as the same in the virtual desktop world.

I suppose that in this analogy a local virtual desktop on a  laptop is a gypsy caravan. It’s where you live, you can do what you like to it, and you carry it around with you. What do you think?

Cisco Connected World Techology Report

Over the last few years Cisco have produced a report on the changing attitude of people to being permanently connected.

This years report – 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report – has just been released. The report is based on two surveys, one looking into the attitudes of Gen Y, and the other looking at the attitude of IT Professionals.

At the heart of this year’s study is the smartphone and the constant connectivity it provides to work, entertainment, shopping, and friends. There are 206 bones in the human body, and the smartphone should be considered the 207th bone for Generation Y. They view smartphones as an appendage to their beings — an indispensable part of their lives, and yet they are concerned about data management and Internet security.

Who knew that 43% of British Gen Y always check there smart-phone as part of their morning ritual alongside brushing there teeth? It wasn’t much of a surprise to me having seen how many of them check their smart phone while stood at the latrine at work! The French are far less bothered about such things with only 29% always checking. It’s interesting that women are significantly more driven to be connected with 85% of them being compulsive checkers; it’s only 63% of men.

There’s a fun visualisation that enables you to calculate your data footprint, I apparently have a highly connected lifestyle. As you might expect there’s also a report highlighting some of the statistics and drawing some conclusions along with the seemingly mandatory set of Infographics including an interactive one showing the results for the different countries that took part.

The world is changing fast, there are a lot of people who don’t realise how fast.

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