By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Smart phone manufacturer i-mate has commenced a unique launch event for their new Ultimate series, putting five disparate people in a Byron Bay villa to prove the viability of working remotely in a Big Brother-style experiment.

The ‘Ultimate Escape’ promotion, which started yesterday, puts a network engineer, single mum, software developer, PR manager and IT recruiter in the same house for a week, where they will continue their normal jobs remotely, equipped with laptops and i-mate’s Ultimate 9502 and 8502 phones.

The campaign uses the slogan ‘Work is something you do, not a place you go to’, and on top of their regular jobs, participants will also document their experience through a blog and web site content and have to create a working marketing campaign to promote remote working by week’s end. Their progress will be visible via Video diary entries will also be uploaded to YouTube.

The i-mate Ultimate 9502 and 8502 phones use HSDPA and HSUPA to download and send attachments rapidly and browse the internet. The phone can also be used a modem for participants’ laptops.

“The objectives are to build a national profile for ‘working smarter’ and to provide a reference and live examples for organisations and employees that it is possible to work out of the office and remain highly productive,” said i-mate APAC general manager, Michael Cavey.

“We plan to clearly show that, when equipped with the right mobile devices, anybody can enjoy a smarter, happier, healthier and more productive working lifestyle.

To aid the participants in their marketing campaign task, members of the public can also participate, putting ideas forward via the website and suggesting improvements to remote working techniques participants use. At the end of their week in the house, the participants will give away an i-mate Ultimate phone to the most helpful contributor.