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How can the new communication technologies being developed by Nortel and other companies in the telecommunications sector be given social value? One method involves translating between the technologies and the desires and needs of those who might consume the product. In this commercial, Nortel frames the technology in terms of balancing the demands of being a busy corporate executive with the need to be a concerned parent.

Family relations now transcend place because they can take place via cyberspace by joining e-mail with video. This is a story about the restoration of affect without presence. As the narrative unfolds we become aware that the corporate executive is also a father. His position -- his office -- gives him power, not merely the power over the workplace, but the power to let his emotions take precedence over the demands of his work on his time. There are subtle cues here that remind us about power relations in the workplace. A pivotal narrative moment shows his secretary reminding him of time constraints (a meeting is waiting for him) so that by ignoring this time pressure he can reveal his real value priorities. He doesn't so much abuse power as use it to further his connection to his child at the expense of how many people waiting for him at a meeting.

Nortel offers a product to offset busy-ness and make a space for parental attentiveness and a means of integrating intense work pace with family obligations. Here, technology enables a father-child relationship to take place at a distance as a momentary and pleasant interruption at work.

Child's excited voice (son, Noah) over the phone: "Dad, you'll never believe what happened in school today. I found a frog."
Secretary sticks her head inside the door: "They're waiting for us."
Child's voice: "call it croaker -- ribet ribet"
Female voiceover: "with call pilot from Nortel networks you can check E-mail, faxes, even voice mail right on your PC with speech recognition which makes getting to your most important messages."
Secretary appears in door again impatiently pointing to her wrist watch, indicating that the meeting is waiting.
Father (smiling with satisfaction) ignores her, instead he says: "play again."
Female voiceover: "...a whole lot easier."
"Nortel Networks -- How the world shares ideas.

New Economic Formations
Social Relations of Production
Information Economy

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Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey