How to Design a Virtualized Platform?: A Socio-Technical Study about the Current Practices of Teleworking

How to Design a Virtualized Platform?: A Socio-Technical Study about the Current Practices of Teleworking

Valérie Fernandez (TélécomParis Tech, France) and Laurie Marrauld (TélécomParis Tech, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1918-8.ch038
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In this chapter, the authors present the project “WITE 2.0.” This project is at the crossroads of various issues related to mobility (Urry, 2007) and use of Information and Communication Technologies. WITE 2.0 is a part of the designing process of a collaborative communication tool: “a virtualized and unified platform.” The authors define scenarios of teleworking practices, “equipped” by ICTs, and use these scenarios to better specify the platform. The project started at the end of 2010 and continued for a period of 18 months. The analysis is based on several complementary methodologies: a qualitative study (47 semi-structured interviews) and an experimentation of the platform. They present the main results of the interview survey through the following themes: remote management, skills, articulation of private and professional spheres, and the maturity of technologies. The authors also describe how these elements help the understanding of the evolution of workers' practices.
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Description Of The Wite 2.0 Project

The Project Issues

Mobility at work is spreading in the context of the mobility paradigm evolution (Thomsin, 2002). The project WITE 2.0 intends to address the urgent need for solutions in the field of remote collaborative work. These needs include ways of collaborating, communicating and socializing, as well as accessing these features regardless of location, and from any workstation. It will provide a unified interface integrating all features, and have a wide range of communication tools selectable on demand.

The Project Phases

The WITE2.0 project is divided into four major phases. The first concerns the study of employee needs and uses, for remote collaborative work. In order to capture the needs and uses, we conducted a qualitative study based on 47 semi-structured interviews. The object of this phase was to highlight the varying kinds of remote collaboration in order to make recommendations related to the design of the platform. The results are published in the report “Work, socialize and collaborate remotely” (Fernandez et al., 2011). The main results of this report focus on ways of socializing in a teleworking context, the question of remote management, and on the technical skills needed for the use of ICT. The recommendations focus on the access to digital resources, business information systems, and on issues related to security.

The second phase of the project focuses on the technology. It is divided into two parts. The first part consists of the writing of functional and technical specifications of the WITE2.0 platform. This document contains descriptions of service needs, and a comparison of various existing virtualization solutions. We have noticed that, since the launch of the WITE 2.0 project, some other virtualization solutions have appeared on the market (Citrix, etc.) (Wang et al., 2011). Through the comparison of different solutions, we highlight the distinguishing features and the technological services of the WITE 2.0 platform. The second part of phase 2 includes the implementation of all the technical elements necessary for the platform WITE 2.0. These technical elements include the virtualization, the development of a socialization software solution, the service integration, the development of a unified software application, and undertaking a beta test of the platform.

In the third phase, the project partners have introduced new technological elements for the components and voice applications, the mobile profiles, and the SIP recorder.

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