Archive for the ‘Technologies’ Category

When I explain my digital nomad lifestyle, the most common question I get is, “How do you work from the road?” I’m not a freelancer or an internet business-builder; I work for an established company, on regular business hours. I attend meetings, hold conference calls, and communicate with clients and co-workers.

Aside from a strong internet connection, I rely on the following communication tools:

Before I began working remotely, my entire office switched to Skype for chat. We use it for casual one-to-one communication, and often for group chats when a phone call isn’t necessary. I purchased a SkypeOut plan, which allows me to call anywhere in the US and Canada from my computer for $2.95 a month.

I have a love-hate relationship with Skype. It works well for computer to computer calls, but the computer to landline functionality can be sketchy at times. Even on fast internet connections, I’ve experienced serious static. For this reason, I do not use Skype to call clients, but reserve it for more casual uses.

After researching alternative communications tools, I came across Gizmo. It is similar to Skype, with options to call other Gizmo users, landlines, and cell phones. Gizmo offers pay-as-you-go plans or package plans; I chose the former. I can call landlines or cell phones in the US and Canada for 1.9 cents per minute.

In my experience, Gizmo has far superior call quality than Skype. As long as I have a decent internet connection, I feel comfortable calling clients using the Gizmo softphone. It has free voicemail, customizeable out-pulse caller ID (for $4.99), and the option to buy a dial-in number. One of the features I like the most is call forwarding, which allows me to forward calls to my US Gizmo number to my local Central America cell phone. I do pay call-fowarding rates, which vary by country, but it’s worth it for the convenience and ability for clients to call a US number and reach me wherever I happen to be.

One of the most frequently-used tools at my company, GoToMeeting is a powerhouse. It is an online web meeting program that allows combined screen sharing and conference calling. Last week, I had a meeting with four team members and a client using GoToMeeting. We were spread throughout three states and two countries, reviewing a document together.

GoToMeeting allows users to sign in and choose to use VoIP or to call in to a designated conference number. Meeting attendees all see the same screen, and can discuss the project in real time. I use the VoIP capability with a headset, and the quality is almost always near-perfect.


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