Coffice 30yrs On

I had a good ol' decade as a road warrior.

Driving huge distances at all hours susceptible to wildly fluctuating time and territory alignment.

Starting before widespread mobile phones, through the internet taking off, to video calling emerging as viable.

Quite the ride.

In the Enterprise space, I saw many a 'coffice' back then. What Ford seem to be currently patenting today.

In those days, no self-respecting rep drove without a clothes hanger dangling from back seat grab handle for their suit jacket, squash racket/golf cap on the parcel shelf with sticks and shower bag in the boot, and a box full of work files and/or samples in a footwell.

It was not unusual to see a salesperson's dashboard with birthday or christmas cards sellotaped to it, around that time of year. The sight of an early iteration of a laptop on an empty passenger seat doing a database build before the battery drained as motoring client-wards. And before we realised the danger, carphone glued to angled ear at speed.

WFA pioneers.

We've not come an awfully long way since.

For fifteen years we've had travelling digital connection. From dongle to cars with their own wifi hotspot.

So what's changed?

Well, the disappearance of an engine.

Electric Vehicles dispense with such anachronism.

Meaning there's a whole load of empty space ready for innovative re-fashioning.

Such as housing a retractable flat desk, tilting laptop-housing steering wheel and what could evolve to be foldable big screens for extra monitor capability.

I myself have done video calls from a car. Parked up and as passenger. Rarely, as there must be a specific, good reason why the conversation is visual, rather than spoken.

Which makes you wonder if all these Ford features are maybe a bit overkill.

If you travel, as I've been wont to do, with a clipboard and marker pens, then so long as you can rest your phone or webcam decently, then you're most of the way there.

A magically appearing whiteboard behind or to the side would be handy, Ford.

Almost any such 'board', where you can clip scrap paper diagrams of sticky notes in full view while meeting.

Remember how you used to be able to get hands-free sets with an extra mic? Usually lodged above the driver side window under the roof.

Well, perhaps the same could apply to an extra webcam. In similar place. Or even revealed when sun visor pulled down.

The reality is that any meeting where you want to be visible alongside your fellow participant(s) needs you to be completely present. And maybe dialling-in from your car doesn't give that vibe.

And given that even having an old school phone call with prospects when driving is falling increasingly out of favour, maybe we can leave Ford's patent to their labs for now?

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