As an IT veteran, I have observed and helped drive tremendous change, not just in the technologies we use but how we use them. Among the more dramatic shifts has been the definition of being a mobile worker.
When I was a mainframe programmer in the late 80’s, being “highly mobile” meant I could log in at any mainframe terminal in the office, do my programming, submit my jobs to the queue and do my (internal only) email. Later, I had two desks in two different buildings and mobility became driving between them multiple times each day. Virtual Private Network (VPN) technologies allowed me to be on call and dial in (literally via a phone-line) from home rather than having to get to the office.
The Internet made mobile work more bearable, but it still required a laptop or desktop. By plugging my blackberry into my PC as a modem, I could work on the train to my office in Boston.
What really transformed mobility (or the trend of more employees working out of the office using mobile devices) for me was the iPhone (followed by the iPad and Android devices.) Not only was I in touch as frequently as I wanted to be via email capabilities, but the enormous ecosystem of apps allowed me to be productive in the ways that fit me best. I was – and am – able to define how I work and where I work. “Work” has stopped being the place I went to and instead became what I did.