Blog

August 6th, 2015

MobileGeneral_Aug04_BSiri, Google Now and Cortana are just three examples of the growth in the use of artificial intelligence that has come about in recent years. They are powered by one element of artificial intelligence, known as Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP involves a computer turning verbatim human language into useful analysis, and its role in the various devices we now use is increasing all the time. Here’s what you need to know about NLP.

There’s more to Natural Language Processing than voice recognition

Voice recognition might be among the most well-known practical uses of NLP in the technology we encounter in everyday life - but that likely has more to do with the popularity of the services that employ it, like Siri, Google Now and Cortana, than the merits of voice recognition in comparison to other NLP functions that tend to stay out of the limelight.

Truth be told, there’s a whole lot more to artificial intelligence than NLP. In fact, NLP is more effective in analyzing text data than it is sounds, which is precisely why digital assistant apps first use voice recognition to turn your commands into text data, and then use other NLP capabilities to search online for related information.

Natural Language Processing has already moved beyond its infancy

It’s tempting to believe that elements of artificial intelligence like NLP are still in the realm of the sci-fi movies, and that they are a long way from being useful to the technology we use in our everyday personal and business lives. It’s tempting, but further from reality than you might realize. That said, it’s true that to date there has been no commercial use of NLP that has truly exploited its full capabilities; even its deployment in a recently launched project to automate customer service only really scratches the surface.

What is clear is the shape that future uses of NLP will need to take. We already know that NLP alone doesn’t always judge context well, since it needs to learn about its environment first - without turning to other sources, for example, one app employing NLP would struggle to differentiate between providing traffic information and diagnosing a health complaint. The key, at least for now, is to restrict the scope in which NLP operates - by limiting its use to a travel app, for instance, NLP could learn about the various travel arrangements you make and then devise itineraries for you.

It works with more than just large-scale data

While it’s undeniable that NLP can be put to great use in analyzing vast swathes of aggregated information, for example taking masses of social media data and being able to assess the feelings of users towards the subject in question, that’s not the limit of its capabilities. Contrary to popular belief, NLP can also be used to interpret much smaller-scale data in real time. This is where its true value comes into play in terms of being able to take natural-language user input, in an app setting for example, and make decisions that add value to our mobile experience.

Whether for automated customer service or comprehensive sales applications, it’s clear that Natural Language Processing - and other aspects of artificial intelligence - hold the potential to be of value-adding benefit to the business world in the near future. It’s an area that’s very much still in development - and so even more exciting, and important to watch - but now is the time to discover how best to implement NLP technologies into your company. By getting ahead now, you can offer a customer experience that truly sets you apart from the competition. To find out how we can help you achieve just that, and at the same time maximize the value you drive from mobile technologies more generally, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 15th, 2015

MobileGeneral_May15_BEven if you think your company is on top of its social media marketing efforts, chances are there is yet more that you could be doing. In particular, the mobile arena continues to grow and develop seemingly without slowing down - and if you’re not harnessing the potential that this segment represents, it’s about time you started to. New data from Twitter demonstrates just how important it is not only to be harnessing access to mobile social media users, but to be doing so through video. Here’s what you need to know.

The Twitter report shows that globally, 90 percent of videos watched on Twitter are now being seen through a mobile device - whether that’s a smartphone or tablet - rather than on a desktop or laptop. Of all Twitter users, 82 percent use the social network - which until relatively recently has been primarily text-based - to watch video content.

Also evidenced in the report is the different use that is served by video on Twitter as opposed to that on other platforms, like YouTube. The report drives home the fact that Twitter represents a means for users to discover new video content, even if they weren’t necessarily looking for it. 70 percent of those surveyed said they primarily watch videos that they have discovered on the platform, whereas the majority - 63 percent - of those actively looking for particular videos use YouTube, rather than Twitter, to do so. In Twitter’s own words, consumers go to Twitter to discover content they don’t already know about rather than searching for something specific.

This is good news for advertisers - showing the value that can be driven for brands using videos that Twitter users discover while interacting on the platform in other ways. So too is the fact that video content directly embedded into tweets, rather than hosted on third-party players like Youtube, generates higher engagement - 2.5 times as many replies, 2.8 times as many retweets, and 1.9 times as many favorites. This is likely because of the lesser effort required to watch and interact with native video, as opposed to third-party content which typically involves additional clicks before being able to view it.

The report says two main things to advertisers. Firstly, sharing video content needs to be an increasingly essential part of your social media strategy - and will bring particular value in helping you to connect with the growing proportion of users who access sites like Twitter through mobile devices. Additionally, the research highlights the success stories that businesses are seeing using Twitter advertising methods like Promoted Video - so now could be the time to consider whether sponsored tweets are a good fit for your organization.

To learn more about harnessing mobile devices and social media to boost your business, give us a call - or drop us a tweet!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

April 10th, 2015

MobileGeneral_Apr10_BRemember when sending a text meant punching hard on physical buttons on your old Nokia model? That was before the days of touchscreen smartphones, to whose smooth, gliding responsiveness to our fingers we have since become accustomed. But the technology revolution doesn’t stop there. Samsung has recently patented technology that will see touch screens give way to visual control screens, where a simple flicker of the eyes will determine what your phone does.

Some devices, both from Samsung and other manufacturers, already have security features which enable you to scan your face as a way to unlock your phone. This is the kind of eye control function that we might expect from future Samsung devices employing the technology that is the subject of the company’s latest patent. The patent doesn’t limit the application of this technology to phones, either, meaning that we could well see it deployed on devices like tablets, desktop computers and even televisions.

Imagine being able to play a song in your phone’s music streaming application, simply by blinking. Blink a second time and you could pull up various information about the song and artist - other movements allow you to activate further features in the app, whether that’s increasing the volume, pausing, rewinding or downloading other songs by the same artist. The patent lists eye movements including blinking, keeping them closed, and gazing at one spot for a prolonged period, each of which would be linked to specific in-device actions.

The race to implement technology to enable visual control of cell phones is not a new one - back in 2013, LG accused Samsung of having infringed on one of its eye-tracking patents with features available on the Samsung Galaxy 4S. Prior to the launch of the 4S, LG alleged that the phone’s Smart Pause function, which automatically pauses video when you take your eyes off the screen, violated a patent the company had applied for in 2009, and which covered the same technology on its Optimus G Pro device. However, when the 4S was eventually released, the Smart Pause and Smart Scroll features - the latter of which allows for browser and email scrolling without touching the screen - relied on facial recognition rather than eye tracking.

Similar features are available on Apple devices, and intended primarily for those with motor difficulties. Switch Control allows you to connect a switch to your iOS device for easier access, while since iOS 7.1 it has also been possible to use the device’s camera as a head switch, and then customize the settings to define head movements and which actions they trigger. Nonetheless, the ongoing innovations being attempted by firms like Samsung mean that this kind of device control is likely to become even more common and mainstream in the near future.

To find out how we can help you use the latest mobile technology in your business to drive productivity and greater revenue, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 11th, 2015

MobileGeneral_Mar06_BThere’s big business in mobile payment platforms, and they are here to stay. Consumers are increasingly attracted to the ease and convenience of Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and adopting these platforms means turning more prospects into clients - and then keeping them hooked for the long haul. Now Google has given the sector a further boost, by announcing its new Android Pay platform. Here’s what you need to know about getting on board with this and other mobile payment platforms.

When Google launches Android Pay, it will act as more than just another app like Apple Pay, or Google’s existing Wallet app (which will continue to be in use, and will be powered by Android Pay). This means it will be useful to developers and retailers looking to allow users to make payments for products and services from right within their apps on Android devices.

Apple technology already enables iPhone users to buy goods in real-life stores using near-field communication (NFC), and Google’s Android Pay system will do the same. A similar technology to Apple's is Google’s local storage of bank card information, which takes away the need for you to have a phone signal to make payments. There are also benefits to security - another feature that Android Pay will adopt from its rival is the use of one-time, automatically generated credit card numbers for each transaction. This helps to fight fraud because even if the retailer you shop with subsequently suffers a data breach, any card numbers the fraudsters get hold off would have expired already.

Google ultimately hopes that its Android Pay system will also include support for fingerprint scanning and other security features, further boosting the peace of mind you can have while using it to shop and settle up.

Competition is beefing up in the mobile payment platform arena. While Google Wallet failed to gain much traction when it first launched in 2011 - it was considered by many to be ahead of its time - the recent growth of Apple Pay appears to have revived hope in the Google alternative. What’s more, Samsung recently debuted Samsung Pay, which is big on payment security and will come as default on the latest models of the Galaxy and Edge range of devices. The Samsung system has the potential to quickly achieve far greater reach since, while Apple Pay only works where retailers already have NFC installed, Samsung recently acquired the firm LoopPay, and as a result Samsung Pay will also support the use of conventional magnetic credit card readers.

And even PayPal is moving in on mobile payment territory. Though the company has for some time had its own apps that make it easy to send cash to friends or suppliers, or to make purchases at participating retailers, PayPal is still better known for its web-based payments system. However, PayPal recently acquired Paydiant, a startup due to launch later in 2015 with a competitor to all the other mobile payment platforms, known as CurrentC. It could prove stiff competition indeed, since it’s backed by retailers like Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that your business can ignore the rapid growth of mobile payments. To find out how to leverage them to your benefit, get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 11th, 2014

MobileGeneral_Sep08_BOur mobile devices are quickly becoming so highly integrated into our lives that it can be difficult to imagine life without them. But, there will come a time when you decide to upgrade to a new device. When this does happen, you may consider selling your old device. If you do decide to do this, one thing you should ensure you have done is to deauthenticate your apps.

What exactly is deauthentication?

Some apps, although not all, require that you authenticate your device in order for them to work. Many developers who ask users to authenticate their device do so in order to either prevent copies of the software from being created and utilized, or to ensure that the device and app can communicate securely.

Some examples of apps that ask for authentication include those that use multi-factor authentication, password managers, and apps that require a subscription or credit card information, etc. On some devices you even need to enter a code or key, much like installing software on a new computer, in order to activate all the features of the app.

The main reason many developers require authentication is connected to security. As security is becoming an ever more pressing issue, there is a good chance that we will see more apps asking users to authenticate their devices in the future.

The issue with this is that when you go to sell your device you will likely need to purchase the app again or the buyer of the device won't be able to set up their own account.

Common apps you should deauthenticate

Apps with subscription services: This includes apps like Google Play Music, Spotify, Office for iPad, cloud storage apps that you have linked your device to, etc. These apps are usually either linked with your device or your phone number so it is a good idea to deauthenticate them.
  1. Kindle app: The Kindle app is actually linked to your device and users who want to use the app will likely not be able to if the device is linked to your account. You can unlink devices by going to the Amazon site, logging in and selecting Manage your Content and Devices when you hover over your account name.
  2. Password management apps: These apps usually require that you authenticate your device to use a particular service. If you try to log in on a new device, these apps may not work properly.
  3. Chat apps: Some chat apps like WhatsApp or Line require that you register for the service using your phone number. If you are keeping your number, you shouldn't have to deauthenticate, but if you are getting a new number, you should go into the account settings of each app and unlink your number. WhatsApp for example has a feature that allows you to move your number to a new device.
  4. Any app or service that you have linked credit card information to: While you ordinarily don't have to physically deauthenticate these apps, as the information is usually linked to an account and password, it is a good idea to unlink your credit card with any app on your phone before you hand it over. This will help ensure that credit card information is not stored or accessible.
When it comes to the major app stores, e.g., Windows Phone Store, Google Play, and iTunes, you will often see that your device has been linked to your account. If you are going to sell your device, the best course of action is to reset using the factory reset option. This will delete all data and installed apps on the device. This will often be enough to deauthenticate all apps.

If you are looking to learn more about getting rid of your older devices, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 20th, 2013

MobileGeneral_Dec17_BAs a business owner, you probably rely on a smartphone as your main form of connection with the office. It may even be your main communication device. If you use a smartphone, you likely have a large number of contacts, and if you have ever tried to manage these on your phone then you know it's not so easy. One useful option is to edit these contacts directly from your computer.

You can manage your phone contacts using the three main mobile platforms - iOS, Android and Windows - from your computer. Here's how:

Manage your iOS contacts from your computer

If you use an iPhone, you can sync your contacts with Apple's iCloud. You can sign up for iCloud on your device by going to Settings and tapping on Home. Select iCloud and enter your Apple ID.

Once you have activated iCloud, or if you already have signed up for it, press the Settings app on your phone and select iCloud from the menu that opens. Once the iCloud settings open ensure that Contacts is on. This will automatically sync your contacts to iCloud and make them available to any device that you sign into using the ID you linked to the service.

Give your phone and iCloud a couple of minutes to sync and then you should be able to access these from any device. To manage contacts from your computer, the easiest thing to do is to open a Web browser and go to the iCloud website (icloud.com/#contacts).

When the site loads you should see a list of your phone contacts. You can click on a contact to edit information and even delete. Just be sure to click Done at the bottom of each contact to save any changes.

Manage your Android contacts from your computer

If you use an Android device, your best bet is to sync your contacts with your Google account. This can be done by opening the Settings app on your device, (pull down from the top of the screen and select Settings), scroll down to Accounts and tap on Google. Select your account from the menu that opens and ensure that Contacts is ticked. Press the three vertical boxes at the top of the screen and select Sync now.

The syncing of contacts should be automatic if a Google account is linked with your phone. Once the sync has completed, you can edit your contacts on your computer by:

  1. Opening any Web browser and logging into Google, using the account name that you have linked your phone with.
  2. Going to contacts.google.com
  3. Clicking on the contact you would like to edit.
  4. Editing the contact and pressing the back arrow once you have finished, which is beside Contacts above the contact info.
There is no need to save information as any changes will be automatically saved. To delete contacts, go to the main Contacts screen and tick the box beside the contact name. You can select more than one at a time if you would like to delete more than one contact at the same time. Once selected, press More, above your contact list, and select Delete contacts. Your device should sync within a minute or two and the selected contacts should be gone.

Manage your Windows Phone contacts from your computer

If you use a Windows Phone you can edit contacts on your computer using live.com. In order to do this you will need to link your phone with a Microsoft account. If you don't have one, go to signup.live.com on any Web browser and follow the sign-up process. Once you have an account, you need to link your phone to it. This can be done by:
  1. Opening Settings from the App List.
  2. Tapping on Email + Accounts.
  3. Entering your Microsoft account email address and password.
  4. Tapping Sign-in.
Your phone's contacts should sync with your account within a few minutes. To edit your contacts, go to live.com and log in. You should see all of your contacts in a list to the left side of the screen. Clicking on each contact will show contact information, and you can edit this by clicking Edit, above the card. Once you have finished editing, be sure to press Save at the bottom of the page. If you click Delete from the menu bar at the top, you will be able to remove your contact.

To learn more about using smartphones in your office, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 11th, 2013

MobileGeneral_Dec09_BIt's December and that means the holiday season is in full-swing. This also means that many people are busy shopping for gifts. As with the past few seasons, smartphones will be a popular gift this year. If you are planning to give a lucky person a smartphone this season, it might be tough to actually pick one that will meet the needs of the person you are giving it to.

Before investing in a smartphone as a gift this holiday season, here's our four point guide on what to bear in mind.

1. What to consider before looking

Before looking into a smartphone as a gift, you should first consider whether the person who will get the phone already has one. The reason being, that many people are on mobile plans. Most of these plans have a set contract period that is not always easy to break and can be costly to do so.

You likely don't want to force someone to break a contract, but many carriers do offer upgrade options that are affordable. It is a good idea to think about when their contract ends. If it is already over, a new phone could be very much welcomed. If the contract is new, you may want to look at investing in another tech gift.

There is also the issue of the carrier. While most carriers have the same phones, some use different networks such as 3G and LTE. Most new phones support all types of networks, but it is worthwhile verifying whether the phones you have selected are supported on the user's network.

2. What platform is best?

There are three major mobile platforms, or operating systems available:
  • Android (current version: 4.4) - Google's operating system is one of the two most popular systems and is largely considered to be the most open. With a large variety of apps, Android is found on the vast majority of mobile devices. Because of the largely fragmented nature of Android, updates are often slow to reach some non-Google devices. One of the biggest selling points of Android is the deep integration with Google's other services.
  • iOS (current version: iOS 7) - Apple's operating system is possibly the most well known operating system and is considered the easiest to use. iOS has a wide variety of apps, and developers usually release their apps on iOS first. Updates are also released to most devices, so you can be sure that your device will be up-to-date. Possibly the biggest selling point of iOS is Apple's well known quality and the fact that the devices are renowned for being easy to use.
  • Windows Phone (current version: Windows Phone 8) - The latest addition to the mobile scene, Windows Phone is the mobile version of Microsoft's Windows. While not as popular as the other two major operating systems, it is still a great system. The majority of the most important mobile apps are on the Windows phone. However, there are not as many when compared with the other two systems. The biggest selling point of this platform is the integration with Windows Exchange, which makes it a great system for business users who also use Windows and Office.

3. What hardware is best?

All three of the major platforms - Android, iOS, and Windows Phone - comprise of phones with different hardware. The high-end devices have leading hardware that will be more than capable of handling any task.

Android has the biggest range of devices which have all types of hardware. Flagship devices like the HTC One, Google Nexus 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 all have powerful hardware. In general, Android devices with smaller screens, tend to have lower hardware specs while those with bigger screens have better hardware.

The iPhones on the other hand have two models: the high-end 5s and the slightly less powerful 5c. Both of these models have hardware that is more than capable of handling most tasks. While some view this uniformity as a downside, it has worked well for millions of users.

Windows Phone devices are more in the middle - there are more devices to choose from than the iPhone, yet fewer than Android. As with Android, there are devices with varying levels of hardware and those with smaller screens (below 4 inches) tend to have lower hardware specs, while those with bigger screens are more powerful. Nokia and HTC are two leading Windows Phone producers.

As a general rule of thumb, newer phones have better hardware and are able to handle almost any task. One thing to keep in mind is the systems the person uses on a daily basis. If they prefer Google, Android may be a better choice. That being said, the platforms all have apps that allow you to connect to your preferred system e.g., a Gmail app you can download to your iPhone.

4. How much to spend

Finally, your decision comes down to how much you want to spend. Most phones can be purchased two ways:
  1. Outright - Purchasing a phone outright is normally done through electronics stores or online. You will pay the full price, but the phone will usually be unlocked, meaning you can use any appropriate SIM card in the device, regardless of the carrier.
  2. Subsidized - The other option is to go with a carrier who offers the phone. Carriers bundle phones with plans and will pay for a large percentage of the device. While the device is cheaper, you will usually have to pay a small fee if you want to keep hold of it after the contract ends.
If you are going to buy your phone outright set a budget. The majority of high-end devices will cost you between USD$300 and USD$500 while mid-range will be between USD$150 and USD$300.

When picking a phone as a gift, why not ask the person what they prefer first. Most people who are looking for a new smartphone will have an idea as to what kind of phone they want and what they want to use it for.

If you are looking to learn more about picking the right smartphone for yourself or someone else, get in touch today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 26th, 2013

MobileGeneral_Sep24_BWhen it comes to running a business, one function owners and managers have to get right is looking after their finances. This can be quite a chore, especially if you are less than proficient in this area. What makes it even tougher is if you are out of the office on a regular basis. Luckily, there are some really great mobile apps out there to help you sort out your revenue.

There are many financial apps out there on the market. Here is an overview of five of the most popular to help make your life a bit easier.

1. FreshBooks

An app is for small business owners on the move. With powerful features like the ability to take pictures of receipts and bills for filing of expenses, to being able to bill or invoice your clients from nearly any mobile device. When you log into the app, you are able to see how much money you are owed and can access features like billing, time tracking, estimates and reports.

Because this system is based in the cloud, it is always up-to-date and is available on nearly any device that can connect to the Internet. Combine this with the FreshBooks accounting system and you have an incredibly powerful, cloud-based accounting system at your fingertips. The app is available on both iTunes and Google Play.

2. Intuit Online Payroll

Intuit's accounting software is among the most popular software used by small businesses and personal users. While most mobile apps allow users to invoice and track expenses, few actually allow you to complete the other half of finance: Paying people. With this app, you can pay your employees, contractors and if you are in the US you can pay your taxes from almost any mobile device.

The app is available on both Google Play and iTunes and starts at USD $20.00 a month for the basic package which allows you to pay your employees.

3. Expensify

If you or your employees travel for business, chances are high that they struggle with keeping accurate records of their expenses and filing expense reports when they get back to the office. Expensify is an app that makes the expense process easier.

With this app you take pictures of bills, specify which account they should be filed under, and the app takes care of the rest, creating an expense entry where you can enter a merchant and price. When you are back, simply submit your report and you are done. The app is available for free on iTunes, Google Play, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

4. Square

Square is the mobile cash register solution that has started to gain traction with businesses around the world. By attaching a reader to your mobile device, you can accept cash and debit cards, as long as you have an Internet connection.

Other options include a full POS that can be run on a tablet and even dongles that function as a wallet, allowing customers to pay without their credit cards or cash. The app is available free on Google Play and iTunes. Once you download the app you then sign up for the card reader and swiped transactions cost 2.75% of the total transaction.

5. Mint

While keeping track of your company's finances on a mobile device may seem like a good idea, what about your personal finances? It's not uncommon for people to have more than one bank account and multiple credit cards, and keeping track of these can be a tough job. Mint is an app that allows users to monitor their various accounts from one platform.

With this app you can see your investments, bank balances and even retirement savings from your mobile device. You can also set up and maintain budgets, which definitely makes managing personal finances easier. The app also keeps track of your expenses and provides easy to read reports with overviews of how much you are spending and on what. Mint is available for free on Google Play and iTunes.

If you are looking for more solutions to help with your finances, why not contact us today? We may have one that fits your business needs.


Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

April 10th, 2013

MobileGeneral_April10_BOne of the more popular devices these days is the tablet, it seems like almost everyone has one, or at least wants one. The problem is, there are so many to choose from that it can be a daunting task, especially when you're looking for one for your business. To help make the decision easier we will look at the three tablets that could be good for businesses.

Here's a five point comparison of the three most popular 10-inch tablets - Apple's iPad 4, Google's Nexus 10 and Microsoft's Surface Pro.

Price
  • Apple iPad - The iPad starts at USD$499 for the cheapest model and USD$929 for the top model. The major differences between the models is storage size and connectivity options.
  • Google Nexus 10 - The Nexus 10 starts at USD$399 for the base model and USD$499 for the top model. The only real difference between the two models is storage size.
  • Microsoft Surface Pro - The base model of the Surface Pro starts at USD$899 while the other model starts at USD$999.

The prices listed above are for just the device, the price you pay will be higher if you add peripherals like keyboard cases, screen protectors or extended warranty.

Storage

  • iPad - Comes with 16, 32, 64 or 128GB of storage.
  • Nexus 10 - Has either 16 or 32GB of storage.
  • Surface Pro - Offers 64 or 128GB of storage. The Pro also has a Micro SD card reader which can support up to 64GB of extra storage. There is also a USB port which you could connect an external hard drive to, allowing for nearly unlimited storage.

It's important to note that these storage numbers are provided by the manufacturer of the device, these numbers don't include the space the operating system and other pre-installed programs take up. For example the Surface Pro 64GB actually has 29GB of usable storage space. In comparison: The Nexus 10 32GB has about 29GB of usable space while the iPad 32GB has slightly over 27GB.

Internet Connectivity

  • iPad - There are two versions: Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi/3g/LTE (Mobile data).
  • Nexus 10- Wi-Fi only.
  • Surface Pro - Wi-Fi only.

Being able to connect to the Internet either through a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection is important for many business users, especially if you are out of the office on a regular basis.

Battery life

  • iPad - Around 10 hours with normal use.
  • Nexus 10 - Around 8.5 hours with normal use.
  • Surface Pro - Around four hours.

The total battery life depends on what users do with the tablets. The numbers reflect what an average business user will get out of their tablet. As with almost any mobile device, it would be a good idea to keep a spare cord at the office and at home so you can charge it when you need to.

Apps

  • iPad - Apple's App Store has slightly over 800,000 apps, many with versions optimized for the iPad.
  • Nexus 10 - Google Play also has slightly over 800,000 apps available to download. The number of tablet-specific apps is far lower than the App Store however.
  • Surface Pro - The Surface Pro runs a full version of Windows 8, which means any Windows program that is compatible with Windows 8 will work on the Surface Pro.

Which is best for business?

When it comes to buying a tablet for work, you need to take into account what you will be using it for. Below are eight popular scenarios and which devices may be best suited for that task.

  1. Email only - If you are looking for a tablet to just check your email on, it would be a good idea to look at the Nexus 10. The main reason for this is twofold: First, you can install different virtual keyboards which make it easier for you to type messages. Second: There are more email apps that allow you to connect to multiple accounts.
  2. On a budget - The Nexus 10 is the cheapest 10-inch tablet, and would be the best option here.
  3. To replace a laptop - The Surface Pro, which costs the same as most mid-range laptops, is really more of a laptop with a touch screen, which makes it an ideal candidate to replace an existing laptop.
  4. To help with presentations - The Surface Pro is your best option here. Because you can install a full version of Office 2013 (with PowerPoint) on the device which is mostly portable, you shouldn't need anything else. Beyond that, there is a mini display port which allows you to connect to any monitor or projection screen (HDMI or VGA) with an adapter.
  5. Everyday use - If you plan to be doing a bit of everything, including personal use, most users will go with the iPad due to its ease of use and great platform.
  6. Google user - The Nexus 10 is built to be the 'Google' tablet; what Google deems to be the benchmark for other Android tablets. As such, any Google user will find this tablet to be the best choice, especially if you use Google Apps in the office.
  7. Apple user - If you use an iPhone or Apple computers in your office, the iPad would be the best device.
  8. Microsoft user - Windows users will likely benefit most from the Microsoft Surface.

If you're looking for a new tablet and would like help figuring out which will be best for your business needs please contact us today, we may be able to help.


Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 14th, 2013

MobileGeneral_Feb13_BHow many times have you been in a meeting only to have a participant's phone ring or vibrate? This is a common occurrence and to many, this is the type of interruption that drives them nuts. While smartphones have changed our lives, mostly for the better, there are still times when we don't seem to follow common 'mobile etiquette', leading to others perceiving us as rude.

Here's six cell phone etiquette tips you should practice to ensure you show respect to your peers, and people around you while on your phone.

  1. Watch what you snap - Almost every phone has a camera these days, and we can't help but take pictures of nearly everything. While it is convenient to take pictures with your phone, there are times when it's not a good idea, such as in a meeting, for example. In general, if you are supposed to be paying attention to something, don't take pictures.
  2. Indoor voices - It's not uncommon to hear someone practically yelling into their phone on a busy street. This is often because they think that they can't be heard by the person on the other end. The vast majority of modern phones have powerful enough microphones and noise cancelling technology to enable users to talk with an indoor voice, even while out on the busy street. If the person you're talking to can't hear you, try cupping your other hand over your mouth and directing the sound towards the phone.
  3. Darn you autocorrect! - Most phones use touchscreen keyboards as their input for text. This can be quite inaccurate, so OS developers created autocorrect, which usually picks the wrong word, leading to some potentially embarrassing situations. When typing on your phone, be sure to always read over what you have written before you hit send.
  4. Resist the beep - One of the more annoying things about smartphones is that every time a notification sounds people rush to check it. This can be seen as rude, especially if when you are talking with a customer your phone goes off and you cut off from them to check it. It's a surefire way to lose the sale! When you're in meetings, or talking with customers/employees, ignore your phone until you are free to answer/check. If you are expecting an important call, excuse yourself before turning your attention to your phone..
  5. Pick the right notifications - Your phone has numerous notification levels. You can set the phone to vibrate, ring, or for lights to flash, etc. If you are in a meeting, it's best to set your phone on silent, as even vibrate is enough to distract these days. Really, the only time your phone should be on ring is when you have it in your pocket, or are in a loud location and unlikely to hear it.
  6. Turn it off every now and then - smartphones bring the ability to be always connected, which can be both good and bad. Sometimes being constantly connected leads to higher stress, and increased work hours at the expense of your personal life. You shouldn't be too afraid of spending a bit of time away from your phone every now and then. Just be sure to let people know that you won't be answering calls or texts.
Polite use of your smartphone will go a long way toward ensuring you are seen as a person that others want to do business with. What are your etiquette rules in regards to phone use? Let us know.

If you would like to learn more about how to leverage smartphones in your business, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.