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Special Event

Millennium 2000: Technology Time Savers Could Help Simplify Complicated Lives

Aired January 1, 2000 - 2:53 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead here now, we look at this new year and the quality of all of our lives, our busy lives. In an era of long daily commutes in our cars, grueling work days, latch-key kids and working moms, quality time is more at a premium than ever.

CNN's Ann Kellan looks at few technology time savers that could help simplify our complicated lives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the old saying is true, time is money, we're spending it like never before. That's why there's so much emphasis on time shifting, using technology to re- order the ways we work, communicate and entertainment. And if our lives are becoming more chaotic, can technology help us win back some control in balancing our home lives and careers?

JAG SHETH, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Today, we don't have the traditional family where you have a bread-winner and a homemaker, you know? Today, everybody's blurring the roles, so this boundary that we create between work and home, if we don't have that boundary, it's easy for me to manage both.

KELLAN: In less than a decade, cell phones have gone from invisible to indispensable, with 80 million and growing in the U.S. alone. Your work and your home life can find you anywhere.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTRESS: Hello?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATERS: Well, almost anywhere.

Then there's the mailbox. It wasn't too long ago that all your mail came once a day in hard copy, stuffed in a box out by the street.

(on camera): Nowadays, we call that "snail mail," and much of our correspondence arrives at the speed of light into our living rooms or offices.

(voice-over): But hand-held computers, small enough to fit in the lap of a laptop, and even pagers. are offering full access to the Internet and e-mail, with ever-improving speed and storage capacity.

For many of us, we'll save the time it takes to get to the snail mailbox or the computer. Our mail will follow us around.

But how much time you save depends on how much mail you get. For some, saving time means ignoring the in box. Time may soon be a little bit more on your side in home entertainment, as well. Already on the hot list are new video recorders like TiVo and Replay, souped up VCRs with enough storage capacity to skip commercials, plan your own instant replays and see the programs you went when you're ready.

And if the commute to the office is growing as a daily dread, the long-held promise of telecommuting may soon pay off -- sort of.

(on camera): With increases in bandwidth, the speed by which information can come and go to your computer, along with video conferencing and other technologies, working from home at least part time may be an option for more of us.

SHETH: And most experts believe that three days at home and two days in the office is an optimal solution. But you need to come to the office.

KELLAN: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says nearly 20 million of us telecommuted at least one work day per month last year. An AT&T report said telecommuting employees can save the company up to $10,000 in missed productivity costs, in addition to saving the employee's own travel time.

But some worry that telecommuting may be a little too close to the honor system to work for some types of jobs, some types of employees and some types of bosses.

SEAN KALDOR, INTERNATIONAL DATA CORP.: The problem is that other employees and employers tend to assume human nature takes over and these people are not working as hard as someone who is more readily under hand.

KELLAN: Human nature not withstanding, it won't be long until our homes are as wired as our offices. Then it may be the amount of time we spend in scenes like these that creates the incentive to work at home. And that may be only a matter of time.

Ann Kellan, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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