Monday, March 13, 2006

IP Lafayette: Homesourcing Capital of the Americas?

Gannett's USAToday has a story on the hot new trend in business. It's, in effect, distributed call-centers. Instead of big buildings with rows of head-setted operators at their computers, 'homesourcing' has call center operators working at their homes.

Imagine the possibilities in a fibered-up Lafayette!

If you've noticed recently, some television ads extol the virtues of company websites that let you click to connect directly to an operator. It's internet protocol-based phone systems that allow this intermodal interaction to take place.

Lafayette could become a magnet for these types of jobs when the LUS fiber network lights up. The high-speed network could easily handle voice and Internet traffic of the busiest call centers, distributed or concentrated. Not only that, the network could enable another mode of communications (video!) over the Internet portion of the network that would further enable our community to distinguish itself as a hotspot for leading edge business applications.

Think about it! A city with the potential to become the home to thousands of call center operators working from the comfort of their homes.

While those jobs aren't always the best paying jobs, as the article points out, call center jobs are attractive to a number of demographic segments.

One unmentioned benefit of homesourcing is that the development of this resource here would relieve local economic development folks of the burden of having to pony up millions of dollars in investments and incentives to land new call center jobs. For that matter, it would also remove those centers as bargaining chips (threat points?) for companies who, say, object to certain investments communities want to make in their economic infrastructure.

The LUS fiber system can give our a unique competitive advantage in this newly emergent trend.

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