Convenience and portability -- usually touted as the key benefits of wireless technologies -- can also be the biggest drawbacks of wireless in a business environment. Before we rolled out wireless technologies at InfoWorld, meetings were focused on the particular agenda at hand, and although we had our share of boring meetings like everyone else, most people were engaged in the discussions. After all, meetings are only called when teams need to discuss issues face-to-face in an environment where everyone needs to contribute or be aware of other points of view. Now that we have 802.11 in conference rooms and BlackBerrys in use by a number of employees, the quality of the interaction sometimes declines as the people in the room check e-mail, and send and receive instant messages. In some cases, I have been to lunch with BlackBerry users who feel compelled to check and read e-mail while I'm talking to them (I can see your furtive glances under the tablecloth, and I can hear the telltale clicking a mile away). Although wireless technologies promise to link teams more efficiently than ever before, when managed improperly, they can erode the basic fabric of business: human interaction.
Yeah, I'm as guilty of this as anyone...Wireless, Blackberries, all this just enables people who already have a high incidence of ADD to have even....ooo! Shiny!