How to stay online no matter where you are

Beyond voicemail

One of the driving factors behind the development of mobile technologies is the delivery of services. We all access information on a daily basis almost unconsciously at work and at home. Digital television and broadband internet services have delivered seamless integration that we now take for granted. Missed Lost on telly? Buy it on iTunes and watch it on a widescreen phone.

You can even set your Sky+ box via your handset with Remote Record if you forget to record something of interest. This type of integration illustrates how automation and the machine-to-machine interface has evolved to give you greater control over your digital life.

These services are tethered to a satellite receiver box or a fixed landline phone cable. However, that physical tether is becoming less restricting, sometimes being replaced with mobile wireless services. For example, British Airways has recently overhauled its mobile service to enhance how passengers can interact with the company.

It's now possible to be updated via SMS on the weather, any potential delays and if your flight has been moved to another terminal. Mobile technology now enables you to remain closely connected to the service that you have purchased.

BT hasn't been dragging its heels, either. BT's Broadband Anytime package is the first integrated service platform that anyone can join right now. A VoIP handset and BT's ToGo Blackberry-like mobile phone seamlessly meld together. You can start composing an email on your desktop PC and complete it in a taxi, coffee shop or airport on the ToGo handset.

Mobile access is via BT's 82,000 wireless hotspots, and when you're out of range of a hotspot, the handset defaults to GSM for voice calls and GPRS for data. If your mobile handset is ageing and you happen to be a BT Broadband Anywhere customer, the ToGo handset is free and provides a leap forward that might just surprise you.

If you run Windows Mobile 6, the interface is familiar – ushering you effortlessly into mobile working.

Here comes WiMax (at last!)

In the new connected world, you become the hub around which data orbits. WiMax service providers like Freedom4 – the rebranded Pipex Wireless business – and Urban WiMax will roll out high-speed 802.16d wireless broadband access to customers this year.

WiMax is often described as Wi-Fi on steroids, and it will offer SDSL (Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Line) to business users, who will be the focus for the services, which require no line subscription or coaxial or optical fibre infrastructure.

Once the WiMax signal detector is connected to your PC, you're instantly online at asymmetrical speeds of up to 1Mbps. For the nomadic worker, the introduction of WiMax should mean that wireless hotspots become a thing of the past. Everywhere will be within the wireless data cloud, even those remote areas that have consistently been a problem for mobile workers.

The WiMax Forum stuck its neck out earlier this year and announced that it projects more than 133 million people to use WiMax globally by 2012. "WiMax is here now and is the catalyst in the global marketplace to grow demand for mobile broadband Internet access," said Ron Resnick, President of the WiMax Forum.

"This new subscriber and user forecast is a solid proof point of the future growth of the thriving mobile Internet ecosystem and presents reasonable predictions of the positive progress our industry is working to achieve."

If WiMax delivers, decentralised work practices will become the norm. The mobile office is reality for a minority now, but by the London Olympics nomadic working will be the norm for millions of Britons.

Essential kit for the road warrior

Google Docs offers a suite of applications that won't win any prizes for cutting-edge features, but are more than adequate for most users' everyday needs.