There’s a new app in the Marketplace from Microsoft and this is one of those fancy cloud apps but it’s for the masses. They put it best when they say “It’s a virtual coffee machine, facilitating chance encounters without any pretext beyond working in the same company or sharing the same interest.”:
Lunchbox adds some real-world interaction back into the increasingly virtualized world. Have coffee right here and now, or plan a meal sometime in the next day.
Collaboration and communication technology is liberating information workers from the physical constraints of time and location. In terms of flexibility, efficiency and productivity, there are gains to the employees and their companies. It is easy to focus only on the measurable benefits of the technology and overlook consequences of such a fundamental change in the landscape.
Each technology comes with its own accidents. In the physical world, it’s straightforward to recognize and mitigate the risks. As cars are engineered to go faster, the safety equipment improves (seat belts, ABS, airbags). In the virtualizing world it is less obvious to design safety measures against the risk of facilitating personal isolation with the same collaboration and communication tools that allow us to be so well-connected.