March 9, 2009

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Sitting the Bench

The 2008 end-of-year fiscal reports show it: Americans reconsidered their spe...Read More

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Tech A Go-Go

Mobile Devices Keep Execs Connected

Heather Beers

March 9, 2009

You’re in line at the coffee shop, waiting to board a flight or perhaps on the way to the basketball game. No matter where you are, your work follows you—you’ve got e-mails to answer, clients to contact, contracts to approve, employees to oversee. How do you manage it all when you’re constantly on the go? For executives who are on-the-move, mobile technology is critical. From phones to conferencing products, the latest innovations make it easier than ever to keep you connected. This Ain’t Your Mother’s Cell Gone are the days when a cell phone was just for calling. “Professionals are using their phones differently than they have in the past,” says Jason Ellis, president and CEO of Spring Mobile, a Salt Lake City-based AT&T authorized retailer in Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming. “With the speed of the devices, people can access mobile data, edit documents, e-mail and use wireless synchronization.” Ellis is seeing mobile technology settle into three main categories: Blackberries, iPhones and Windows Mobile products. Since each has its advantages, professionals’ IT needs—and individual styles—often determine which device they should use. The Blackberry Bold, for example, is the newest incarnation of the Blackberry. Ellis explains its full HTML Web browser is a plus for executives who need complete Internet access. Its wireless syncing allows professionals to make changes on the fly to their calendar or contact list, with automatic updates to the system back at the office. When it comes to PowerPoint, Word and Excel documents, users can actually make and save changes directly to the document. With a full media player, Wi-Fi connectivity and navigation capabilities, the Blackberry Bold is a must-have for professionals like Ellis. The wildly popular iPhone is be-coming a favorite among executives, as well. “We’re seeing a lot of people adopt the iPhone as their primary multimedia PDA-type phone,” says Ellis. “It’s very sexy; it’s easy to use; its interface is cool; and the iPhone wins in the applications category.” Along with full iPod functions, the iPhone offers a rich HTML Web browser and support for Microsoft Exchange, which enables e-mail, calendaring, contacts and more. Finally, Ellis says that for tried-and-true Windows users, Windows Mobile devices are a good option. The phones run a Microsoft Windows operating system similar to Windows on a PC. These devices easily sync with the office over the air for a full range of functions. Whichever device you choose, Ellis says if you haven’t updated your phone in the last 24 months, it’s time. “You’ll find a meaningful difference in your service,” says Ellis. Lifetime Guarantee? Once you invest in your state-of-the-art mobile technology, the last thing you want is to find it scratched or dented within days. What if you could protect it for the life of the device? The invisibleSHIELD is a military-grade protective film that is 0.2mm thick and is guaranteed to “scratch-proof” your device. Produced by Salt Lake City-based ZAGG, invisibleSHIELD provides pa-tent-pending protection for 3,000 different mobile devices and laptops. How does it work? Robert G. Pedersen II, ZAGG co-founder and CEO, explains it comes down to the patent-pending adhesive and the film’s Nano-Memory technology, which works like a “self-healing mechanism.” The invisibleSHIELD’s pre-cut designs are easy enough for customers to apply by themselves. “No longer do people have to worry about their expensive phone or gadget getting all mucked up. They can keep it new for months or even years with the invisibleSHIELD, and they don’t have to deal with bulky cases to do it,” says Pedersen. Hands-Free and Echo-Free Ah, the speaker phone. So convenient for executives’ hands-free communication, but oh so dreadful for actual communication. The tin-can reverberation? The lost bits of simultaneous conversation? ClearOne, a Salt Lake City-based provider of audio conferencing systems for clients around the world, has solved the speaker phone dilemma for executives on the go with the Chat 50. Mark Child, director of product marketing, telephony for ClearOne, explains the Chat 50 is a small personal conferencing device—a personal speaker phone—that operates as a simple USB device. It can be plugged into a laptop or mobile phone, and it becomes the default audio microphone and speaker device. “Chat 50 provides hands-free, great audio quality, so you can be on the road and act like you’re at the office,” says Child. “It has a very powerful speaker and microphone with built-in echo cancellation and noise reduction. In fact, our hardware is the reason PC magazine gave Chat 50 its Editor’s Choice award.” Child adds that people are used to low quality speakerphones that aren’t full duplex, which means you can’t talk and listen at the same time. “As soon as they find a product like ours that provides good quality with no listener fatigue—and you can hear the nuances of conversation—they find there’s a great increase in productivity.” Chat 50 has become an essential for many of ClearOne’s global clients. A large European financial services company, for example, provides each new employee with a laptop, Chat 50 and Web cam. The plug-and-play device works with laptops and PDA-type mobile phones. Child even uses one in his home office that connects easily to his family’s basic home phone system. What if you’re on the road with other employees? Child says, “A big advantage is if you’ve got two or three people you want on a call, just plug it into your laptop or cell phone, and you’ve got great audio quality for a conference call.” Whether you’re headed around the corner or the globe, you can stay connected with innovative mobile technology. But just remember, it’s OK to hit the old-fashioned “off” button every now and then.
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