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Lucent Technologies: The Paperless Office in Practice

Lucent Technologies Wireless Communication Network Division develops and markets wireless Local Area Networks for use inside buildings. It is no surprise that they themselves have a wireless network installed and running in their buildings. But what are the benefits for the employees after 6 years of experience with this system in their own organization?

Application: Lucent Technologies uses the WaveLAN Wireless Solution for wireless Intranet Access all over the world
In today's world, where information travels faster and employees are constantly on the move, a local area network system is required that provides accurate up-to-date information and the possibility for employees to access the network regardless of which Lucent building they happen to be at on a particular day.

From the introduction of WaveLAN, Lucent's division for wireless networks installed a wireless system for their own employees. At this moment 7 WavePoints are installed and 100 users are on the net. Working with their laptops from wherever they were within their building and using e-mail anytime because they always have their laptop with them, members of the division experienced the benefits of mobility and increased productivity through the intense and effective use of e-mail.

But when they visited other Lucent facilities, even if WaveLAN was installed, it would be necessary to reconfigure the card with information required for the login procedure of the new facility. Therefore Lucent Technologies decided to simplify this process and to make it automatic. This meant that a Lucent employee could walk into any Lucent facility and automatically get access to his email and servers back at his own facility. No longer is the employee tearing apart the hotel room, looking for that RJ-II jack to plug his 28k modem into to get his daily email "fix"! The benefits from this new approach resulted in the expansion of wireless local area networks to other sites within the Lucent organization. For example, recently in two buildings of Lucent, Swindon, England a network was installed with 14 WavePoints and a point to point link between the two buildings.

Now , employees don't have to be concerned about which Lucent site they are working at on a given day, they are always able to log into the network in the same way they do in their 'home network', and roam around the location , remaining connected and avoiding the need to plug into an Ethernet wall-outlet. For Lucent employees this means that they can work anywhere and at any Lucent Location, immediately. So, from wherever they are working, all activities could be done, communicating with everyone by e-mail, browsing Internet, the users own files and shared files can be accessed and obtained using the network. Gary Mink, a Business Manager for WaveLAN Product Marketing says: 'The nicest thing about this way of communication is that you can reach everyone, wherever they are and at anytime, in a meeting for example. I'm gaining productivity and winning time, which I can use for other important activities. Further my whole personal organization and communications capability is centralized within my laptop PC.'

Market and customer information is spread within the organization by e-mail which provides a fast way of communicating information about customer requirements the moment it is received. The possibility to share this information more efficiently, without the need for time consuming meetings, results in a more effective customer approach, improving customer satisfaction and sales.

In meetings the attendee stays online while he or she roamed to one of the meeting rooms in the building. During the meeting information can be accessed at the central server instantly. Getting the information that is needed for solving the problem directly from the Intranet can make the meeting productive. This can help to reduce the requirement for another meeting. After the meeting everyone can store their meeting abstract in their station immediately. Liz Daniel, Product Manager, Swindon: 'Yesterday I took part in review in another building than my own, with my laptop on-line in front of me. Meeting notes taken were e-mailed within moments of the review finishing to all parties'

Wireless networking is a logical result of the trend of virtual offices, mobility and the integration of information technology. These factors have a stimulating effect on each other and accelerate the rate at which they will be adopted on a large scale.. Another effect is that at last the volume of paper is starting to reduce as mobile workers increasingly use internet and Email to communicate with each other. This is the paperless office in practice.

Benefits: More productivity and better knowledge sharing: higher customer satisfaction.
In conclusion Lucent Technologies is experiencing increasing productivity, because everyone has their communication extender (read: laptop) with them everywhere and stays online. Via this system of communication customer satisfaction increases, through instant response on market- and customer signals. And the efficiency keeps increasing when the same wireless network system is used in other Lucent facilities. Everywhere the same login procedure on the Lucent intranet. This way one can work wherever they are. This flexibility gives the employees a feeling of freedom.

History has also proven the network to be cost effective through elimination of the costs of moving to another place or building. In today's environment of flexible work-groups, each person typically moves location once per year. With a wireless system, you simply walk with your laptop to your new location. This way Lucent can be as dynamic as the wireless communications market!

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