Scott Hassan, an early Google engineer and now an investor and entrepreneur, thinks he has the solution for companies that think they're wasting time and money chasing new hires: make it more practical for engineers living in cheaper places to telecommute to work. His company, Suitable Technologies, has developed a roving telepresence system that is five feet, two inches tall, placing its 17-inch screen at roughly the right height for a hallway conversation. It is not the first mobile telepresence system to hit the market, but Hassan says it has features that will make it more practical and less awkward to use than previous systems.
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The tech boom in the San Francisco Bay Area has created intense competition for software engineers. Kids straight out of college can start salary negotiations at six figures, and rents are rocketing.
Enabled by increased use of computers and the Internet, teleworking has become more common over the past decade. But Hassan says existing technologies are lacking. "We need a better mode for collaboration than Skype, or a phone," says Hassan. "We should be able to travel instantly and not just as a voice or a screen on the wall."
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