The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Virtually, an office away from office

You have a vacancy at your headquarters in Calcutta and there are these applicants from Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, Mumbai…. You want to rush through the recruitment. So what do you do'

You just hop into your nearest ‘virtual office’. You check out the candidates ‘live’, ask them what you have to, hear them out, make your decision and tell the lucky ones to sign up.

Welcome to Web World, the one-stop shop that can be your office away from office. Spread over close to 700 cities and towns (state capitals and district headquarters) and having more than 800 virtual offices, this Reliance product — its answer to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) — is now rolling into Calcutta.

Though there are already seven operational Web Worlds in the city, the eighth one on Camac Street is the first virtual office. From video-conferences to training sessions to playing games with friends who are more than a thousand km away, these offices can shrink distances within seconds in a novel way, claim Reliance officials.

Competition comes in the form of VPN, aimed at exclusively corporate users. This service enables users to conference on video and extend the benefits of online communication to their offices across India (there are 10 VPN nodes now), say BSNL officials, and cost anything between Rs 38,000 and Rs 12.32 lakh, depending on the kind of service. “Besides, our Internet hubs are already being given out, for a fee, to host online interviews,” one of them added.

But Web World has an added edge, says a Reliance spokesperson. “With Web World, you can take your office out of your office.”

The first virtual office in the city has already had over 2,000 sq ft of space devoted to the purpose. Monitors, fitted with cameras, are backed by all necessary tech tools required in an office set-up. From training sessions to interviews, from interacting with colleagues across the country to clinching that important deal from a distance, these offices take care of everything, say Reliance officials.

But it’s not all work and no play. The virtual office can easily become the venue for your on-line party and (indoor-games) playground. The work gizmos can also allow you to share your birthday with far-flung friends or engage in a five-way virtual game, involving five players in five Web Worlds in five parts of the country.

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