Road warrior (computing)
In business travel, a road warrior is a person that uses mobile devices such as tablet, laptop, smartphone and internet connectivity while traveling to conduct business. The term has often been used with regard to salespeople who travel often and who seldom are in the office. Today it is used for anyone who works outside the office and travels for business.
The term is believed to originate in the Mel Gibson movie Mad Max 2:The Road Warrior (1981).
Early Days (Before 1990s)
In the pre-mobile technology era Road Warrior were simply people whose jobs required a lot of travel, either by car or plane. The majority of this group were salespeople and professionals that needed to be with clients such as accountants, consultants, etc. They typically would need to come back to their company's office for administrative duties. The office held limited resources (phones, fax machine, computers, etc.) that were best used by centralizing them.
As both computer and telecommunication technologies became more portable and less expensive, the need for Road Warriors to come back to offices for use of limited and costly resources began to wane.
Major technologies that impacted Road Warriors:
- Text Pager
- Portable terminal - Allowed Road Warriors to access work computers for first time.
- Personal computer
- Email - Allowed information to move and be seen anywhere
- Portable computers like Compaq Transportable PC
- Portable cell phone
- Blackberry phone - Allowed secure message between users
- Wireless Access (Wi-Fi)
The term Road Warrior has been credited to the 1981 movie Mad Max 2 sub-titled "Road Warrior" starring Mel Gibson. Its harsh road life in a post-apocalyptic world was used to symbolize the hardship of modern business travel.
The 2009 movie "Up in the Air" starred George Clooney as a person who fully lives the Road Warrior life to the extreme.
Road Warriors use mobile devices and laptop computers that connect to companies' information systems. Specialized applications from Software as a Service (SaaS) providers are often used in order to conduct their work duties.
Road Warriors have proven not only that working outside the office is possible but also that it's effective for those who do not require travel as part of their work. There are several labels used to describe them - Telecommuting, Remote Workers, Teleworkers and the list continues.
There are other workers with different labels used to describe them, such as Digital Nomads or Nomads who perform work outside of their workplace and choose to travel as a matter of personal choice and not as part of their work duties.