SOURCE: Plantronics, Inc.

November 18, 2008 08:05 ET

"Cloudworker" Replaces Obsolete "Telecommuter" to Describe People Who Work Beyond the Office

Public Vote Redefines Today's Remote Worker

SANTA CRUZ, CA--(Marketwire - November 18, 2008) - Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE: PLT) today announced that "cloudworker" won the nationwide Plantronics TeleWho? contest. The contest was created to coin a new, more accurate and relevant term for professionals who work beyond the office.

According to the winning submission, "a cloudworker is somebody who uses on-demand technology and collaboration tools, such as unified communications, to work anywhere and anytime, and uses the resulting freedom to enable a my-size-fits-me career path and lifestyle. The metaphor of the cloud extends well beyond cloud computing and software as a service applications to include work environments, distributed teams, and communication tools."

Today, telecommuting means much more than it did in 1973 when the term was born. It's no longer just about replacing a daily office commute with telecommunication links. Rather, it now involves working from several locations in one day, including from home; communicating on multiple devices and with multiple applications; integrating work and personal life; and providing 24x7, "always on," service to customers.

For the Plantronics TeleWho? Contest, a panel of telecommuting and workplace experts -- including analysts, media and bloggers -- selected 10 finalists from a pool of approximately 500 submissions. These 10 were selected based on their originality, relevance and lasting impact. Public online voting took place over a two-week period, and nearly 2,200 votes were cast. Cloudworker won with 27.5% of the vote.

Venkatesh Rao, a blogger at and research scientist at a Fortune 500 company who divides his time between Rochester, N.Y. and Washington, D.C., submitted the winning term. For his creativity and ingenuity, he will be receiving approximately $2,000 in communication and audio entertainment prizes.

"I've been blogging about and researching the future of work for a while now, and personally living the cloudworker lifestyle for years, but I didn't think to put a name to it until I saw the Plantronics contest," said Rao. "It is amazing how changing a single word can completely reframe how you think about a big subject. Once I started thinking in terms of 'cloudworker,' so many ideas came flooding into my head that I ended up starting a series of blog articles, which my readers really seem to resonate with. I hope the word triggers an equally stimulating shift in perspective for others."

Honorable Mentions

The open submission process resulted in a wide variety of terms. Although they didn't make the final cut, the panel awarded the title of "honorable mention" to a few of the most original entries.

The honor of Most Likely to Cause Confusion goes to "Porta-Pro" submitted by Jillian Grant of Sunnyside, N.Y. Though most immediately associate "porta" with another hyphenated word, the term submitted is an abbreviation for portable professional.

Several submissions referred to one of the least mentioned benefits of working from home, but quite likely one of the most appealing. Thus, Most Tell-it-like-it-is Truthful goes to "Robe Warrior" submitted by Faith Zack of Santa Cruz, Calif.

Cloudworking on the Rise

A survey conducted by TNS and released by Plantronics today reveals that high travel costs are transforming how businesses and their employees communicate and collaborate. In fact, 52% of survey respondents work from home at least one day a week and almost half cite "saving money" as the primary reason. Combined with the current economic climate, businesses can also reduce real estate and operational costs by encouraging employees to work outside of the traditional office environment.

To see the full TeleWho contest results, please visit

To learn more about product solutions for cloudworkers, please check out Plantronics' Home Office Solutions at:

About Plantronics

In 1969, a Plantronics headset carried the historic first words from the moon: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Since then, Plantronics has become the headset of choice for mission-critical applications such as air traffic control, 911 dispatch and the New York Stock Exchange. Today, this history of innovation is the basis for every audio product we build for the office, contact center, personal mobile, entertainment and residential markets. The Plantronics family of brands includes Plantronics, Altec Lansing and Clarity. For more information, go to or call (800) 544-4660.

Altec Lansing, Clarity and Plantronics are trademarks or registered trademarks of Plantronics, Inc.

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