That is world class broadband and cost effective at around $150 per month.
The main things I'm using all this speed for is:
- Skype: I'm constantly talking to Xero staff all over the world. We use Video for quick one on ones, a lot of chat, and do most of our interal meetings as a Skype conference (normally just voice). While skyping we're often often collaborating on Google docs or http://bullseyehd.com. I'm finding I'm doing a lot more external calls on Skype. A few times a week I'll have job candidate interviews and quick partner catch ups. I've noticed a real benefit of Skype is that meetings are much shorter. Often in physical meetings people feel obligated to stay for an hour but in Skype, when you're done you're done which leaves some whitespace for getting other things moving.
- Our business lives on Yammer, which allows all Xeroes around the world to be part of conversations during the day and throw ideas around the team
- GotoMeeting HD Faces for video conferencing and online presentations
- Vadacom deskphone. My home office is on the Xero virtual PABX so I can dial anyone in the company and place calls nationally and internationally via the Xero account
- Dropbox for file sharing
- Home phone line and HSM alarm system
Having this much speed makes AppleTV transformational. I've moved my library (iTunes and iPhoto) off my working MacBookAir onto a dedicated MacMini. I've put an AppleTV next to each TV.
I can control the MacMini using VNC, so use that to download US TV shows and movies in the background which is fast and painless. I use VNC full screen so can just 'two finger swipe' across to the MacMini. My iPhone and iPad also syncs to that, not my work machine. Wifi Sync keeps most things up to date and every few days I plug in which does photos.
The combination of iTunes, Home Sharing, Apple Remote app, Wifi Sync and AirPlay means you can beam content all around the house, from anywhere to anywhere. And it's very straight forward to set up (though you do need to know about all of it to make it work).
In New Zealand I'm still conscious of bandwidth so I'm not using iCloud which pulls movies back over the web when ever you want them. I want to pull movies from the MacMini locally which the above setup does. I've also found iTunes Match frustrating as it doesn't seem to update when you upload new songs from a CD or free downloads so playlists get out of date. This sync model still works a lot better.
Mad Men series 5 is out and over the weekend I subscribed to the HD series. That pulls down both HD and SD versions of each episode. That chewed through my my 60GB quota but I upgraded to Now's 100GB plan which should be enough. No ads and you can 'power watch' a series. If you haven't got an Apple TV yet you should. $159.
To connect inside the house I run a Time Capsule which provides wifi and backup and AirPort Express for extended wifi cover. Like Apple Remote there is an iPhone app to manage your home network: Airport Utility.
To get the best possible voice and video quality to my computer I'm running an Apple ThunderBolt Monitor and MacBook Air with ThunderBolt so I have hardwired Internet. When the MacBook Air docks it gets Internet through the Monitor so it's as fast as possible. I also hardwired the AppleTVs to avoid any wifi jitters - but that may be overkill.
When working at home I spend hours a day on the phone (skype, mobile or desk phone). A cool work toy I got was a Plantronics Savi headset which connects all three devices and I can walk and talk.
The best thing is I'm traveling less. Flights to Wellington or Auckland are $300 to $500 a pop and I'm sure I'll save a couple of flights a month. That also frees up many wasted hours of travel time. More time for living. So for me the Return on Investment is high.
Working a few days at home changes the way you work. In my 'big city days' I try to pack all my in person meetings in. I can't write stuff in the office as there are too many distractions so I save board papers and things that needs thinking time to home days. I also try to do calls on home days. I find that in non scheduled time I can chase opportunities and try to make new things happen. I'll often look for a company we want to do things with and track people down in LinkedIn.
We're very lucky in the Bay to have a bunch of companies that work together well and can get you sorted.
Finally, there is one essential bit of office equipment that makes working for home much, much easier ...