Everyone in business has heard of the SOHO – Small Office Home Office. Now make way for the NOHO – Small Office No Office.

The concept is introduced in a new book released today, “The Mobile Office”, by pioneering technology writer Arthur Goldstuck. The book is sub-titled “The essential small business guide to office technology”, and goes beyond the technology to explain how the modern office for both the small business and the travelling executive has changed more radically in the past ten years than in the previous hundred years.

“It’s not just the Internet, not merely the plunging prices of laptop computers, not only the arrival of cellphone banking and mobile e-mail,” says Goldstuck, who heads up the World Wide Worx technology market research organisation.

“It’s about an entire ecosystem that is beginning to support the business person out of the office. Only five years ago, anyone wanting to be untethered from the physical office but remain productive and in touch, faced almost insurmountable obstacles. Now a happy conspiracy of telecommunications providers, device manufacturers, hospitality establishments, and travel services have made it an everyday reality.”

Despite this, however, the practical aspects of abandoning the office while maintaining an office – the key to NOHO – remain complex and confusing for the average person who wants or needs this approach but has no idea where to start or how to choose from the bewildering array of options.

“For example,” says Goldstuck, “one of my favourite and most useful gadgets is a small, portable charger that fits in the palm of the hand and holds just enough power to recharge my cellphone once. It doesn’t seem like much, yet has rescued me countless times while out of the office. And whenever someone sees me using it, they want to know where they can get one – they just didn’t realise it was an option.”

The book guides users through choosing the right computer, deciding what accessories go with it, choosing the most appropriate software, how cellphone banking works with each of the major banks, and a detailed unravelling of Internet connectivity options for business users ranging from solo players to executives. It also delves into the price structure of all the major connectivity options.

World Wide Worx’s annual Mobility research project, which inspired the book, was sponsored by FNB, but the book takes a neutral approach to cellphone banking, apart from one FNB initiative that no other bank yet offers: Cellphone Banking for Businesses with Dual Authorisation.

Goldstuck says that FNB has shown its commitment to research on Cellphone Banking through its sponsorship of the Mobility Research.

FNB Mobile and Transaction Solutions CEO, Len Pienaar, says FNB has been sponsoring the Mobility research project for the past three years and are proud to be the only financial institution to support this initiative.

“The growth of mobile commerce in SA will change the face of business. Business as we know it will continue to evolve with the developments in mobile technology; Cellphone Banking for Businesses will help revolutionise the way business interact with the bank, saving the customer money and adding convenience to their business. Businesses will operate in a seamless fashion where deals and processes can be made in an instant,” concludes Pienaar.

“Ultimately The Mobile Office is a decision-making tool,” says Goldstuck. “It is aimed at helping mobile business people decide what they need, when they need it, how much they will pay for it, and generally taking control of their mobile lives.”

The book is published by Double Storey and is an easy read at 88 pages. It will be available in all good bookstores at a cost of around R80.