Multimedia opens a window on the world

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The Independent Online
The 'teleputer' in the home office is exactly like the one in the sitting room: the two could be combined, but most households prefer to separate work from play. The one in the office can be used as a high definition television, or to watch a video, but is mainly used for business. Its owner-operator is a 'teleworker' who uses the videophone so much that he or she now finds it strange to talk in 'audio' only. The person on the other end of the call appears in a box on the screen. The rest of the screen can be used to display information. The operator can receive and send graphics, data and high quality pictures (entered into the system via a scanner). He or she is covered by a camera behind the screen and can communicate through the built- in microphone and speaker, or via a telephone handset. Every morning the teleworker takes part in business 'meetings' using the system: perhaps ahalf-dozen colleagues, all of whom work at home, get together electronically. As they communicate they can see each other on screen.

The teleputer can also be used to read the papers. Every morning, it can receive all articles that include any key word you have specified - the names of your company and its rivals, for example, and of your favourite sport. It can also tie into a press-cutting database that has newspapers on file

going back to 1985. It can call up the telephone directory, an on-line encyclopaedia, a dictionary, or a variety of other reference books.

And when telework is over - or perhaps the workers get bored during the day - they can tap into the executive game programme and, like the child in the sitting room, work out any aggression by having an electronic duel with someone at the other end of the country.

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