Syncing Your Work Email with Your Mobile Device: Pros and Cons

These days many jobs require you to take work home. They may even buy you a laptop and pay for your cellphone so you can do your job from anywhere. Depending on your job, getting your work email on your phone is required. This will mostly be for employees that need to be on call at odd hours of the day.

For most phones you can easily sync your emails accounts by going into settings or setup. From there you can go into mail and select “accounts,” then “add account.”

For those of you who have achoice, you should consider some pros and cons of syncing your phone up with your work email account. Once you have looked it over you can decide if this option is the right one for you or if it will only cause you undue stress.

PROS:

  • You can check emails from anywhere without pulling out your laptop and finding an internet connection.

  • If you forgot to send an important email while at work, you can still type and send it as soon as you remember. It will just take longer to type with those mini keys on your phone screen.

  • When your company sends out the email that everyone is excused early to go to happy hour, you will be sure to not miss out.

  • If you often work on site at a client’s location, you will still be in quick contact with anyone at the home office.

  • You may be able to relax better knowing you won’t miss any important notifications or that if you need to, you can get work done from anywhere.  At least anywhere that your phone still works.

CONS:

  • You may be treated like you are on call even though you are not. If people know they can reach you anytime, they will be more likely to do so.

  • You might prefer to keep work time separate from relaxation time. If the thought of checking emails from work while sitting on the couch stresses you out, then you will want to limit your phone to personal use.

  • You will no longer have an excuse for not seeing a last-minute memo.

  • If you forget to turn off your phone at events, it will be one more risk to getting accusing stares when your phone sounds a notification at the wrong time.

  • Your supervisor or coworkers may expect you to do more work than what you are already taking on. They might even intentionally plan to send you notices after work hours if they are
smartphone, mobile banking

Mobile Technology: Commerce

To finish our discussion on how mobile technology is changing that way that we do business, in this article we want to focus on the commerce aspect. For small business owners, mobile technology can have a huge impact on how you handle the buying, selling, and all money aspects of your business.

Mobile technology can be involved in collecting and recording money in your business in many different ways. One of the major ways is through purchasing. Through the creation of mobile websites and apps, businesses can reach their customers through their mobile devices. Once the customer is on your site, the mobile technology allows you to accept and process orders electronically from your customers. If you create a mobile sized catalog, you can also have it delivered to your customers on their mobile devices.

Mobile technology also gives businesses another opportunity to offer loyalty cards, coupons, or vouchers to your customers. These perks can be sent directly to your customers on their mobile device, which can then be presented in the store to redeem the deal.

One huge asset to delivering these deals with mobile technology is that you have the option to offer them based on your customer’s location. The location-based technology in many mobile devices can help you target specific geographic areas. It also allows you to track and monitor people who use or purchase your product based on their location, allowing you to be more effective in your overall marketing strategy.

Mobile technology is also having a huge impact on event ticketing. Customers can buy and cancel tickets through their mobile devices, even up to the last minute. You can also have your system set up to accept electronic tickets, which your customers display on their mobile device. This is extremely convenient for the customer, who can use the tickets immediately instead of having to wait for tickets in the mail or worry about printing them off at home.

Lastly, mobile technology can help you track and record your revenues and expenses. Mobile banking allows you to access your account information at any time. It also allows you to check account balances, deposit checks (with your smartphone camera) and transfer funds. Many brokerage accounts also have mobile-friendly sites or apps, which means that you have instant access to any stocks, bonds, or other accounts that you hold. This allows you to stay updated on your business finances no matter where you are.

And this is only the beginning. As mobile technology continues to advance, the ways that it interacts with and enhances your possibilities as a business owner will also continue to expand.

mobile marketing

Mobile Marketing

As we discussed in our previous post, mobile technology is rapidly changing the way that we do business. Small business owners who want to stay competitive have found it increasingly important to integrate various mobile technologies into their work place. In today’s look at mobile technology, we are going to focus on how mobile technology is affecting small business marketing.

Mobile technology has opened up numerous new avenues through which small businesses can do their marketing and advertising. Text messaging (SMS), mobile apps, mobile websites, QR codes, IVR messaging, and banner ads are just a few of the ways that businesses have been targeting potential customers on their mobile devices. So what is it about mobile technology that makes this sort of marketing effective?

The first big benefit of mobile technology is that it can effectively reach customers in a medium where they spend a lot of time. Our society is becoming more and more attached to mobile devices. Smartphones and other mobile devices are continuously handy, increasing the potential exposure of a customer to your marketing message. And mobile marketing is not just for teenagers. In fact, the biggest purchasers of mobile devices are in the 35-44 and the 45-54 age brackets.

In fact, there are multiple studies supporting the idea that your customers are seeing more and more on their mobile devices. Some of the findings from these studies are listed below (source).

  • Text messaging (SMS) is one of the quickest ways to reach an individual. 97% of mobile users will read the text message within 15 minutes and 84% of them will respond to a text message within an hour.
  • The average mobile marketing push has a response rate of 12-15%, with some companies seeing as high as 60%. This is in comparison with direct mail marketing, which has a response of about 2-3%.
  • About 40% of mobile users have expressed an interest in receiving mobile coupons.
  • Mobile websites are in as high demand as PC websites.

Due to the ability of many mobile softwares to “read” the website or information that an individual is looking at, marketing can become more targeted. After reading the information on the site, the software can run an ad that is related to that information, delivering a message that is relevant to that particular customer.

As technologies continue to develop, mobile devices will continue to impact the ways that small businesses handle their marketing campaigns. And that’s not the only area that will continue to evolve. In our next mobile technology post, we will look at how it is affecting small business commerce.

mobile technology

Mobile Technology: Uses and Benefits

In the world of small business, it’s important to take advantage of anything that can give you an edge – whether it be making you more productive, more accessible, or more visible to your potential customers. One of the technologies that has recently changed the world of small business is mobile technology. From the cell phone to the tablet, the evolution of mobile technology has changed the world of business forever. In our next two posts we’ll take a closer look at the advantages, possibilities, and necessary considerations of mobile technology for small businesses.

In the beginning, the first big convenience offered by mobile technology was the ability to always have your phone with you. The possibility of answering and making calls when you were out of the office drastically improved the accessibility of business owners and their employees. The next convenience was the possibility of checking your email outside the office, which increased productivity. Since then, updates and discoveries in applications, software, and integration possibilities have blown door of potential benefits wide open. With each passing day, mobile technology is changing the ways that the world does business.

Today there are many different options in the mobile technology solutions. Some of these include:

  • Mobile websites
  • Mobile applications
  • Mobile commerce
  • Mobile infrastructures
  • Mobile communications
  • Mobile marketing
  • GPS tracking

The biggest benefit to mobile technology continues to be communication. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and PDAs have given business owners unprecedented access to their employees, customers, and vendors. Not only does a cell phone mean that you can make and take calls at any given moments, but the applications on smartphones and tablets give you instant access to the internet and social media. Businesses have found that mobile technology allows them to communicate in all sorts of ways, including the ability to:

  • Make presentations to customers
  • Download information
  • Give quotes and estimates while in the field
  • Make continuous updates while traveling

Part of this communication includes the ability to get instantaneous feedback from your customers. Businesses who take advantage of this feedback have been able to speed up their research and development phases, which allows them to stay one step ahead of the competition. This includes not only product upgrades resulting from existing problems, but also new designs. As a bonus, customers who have given feedback feel as if they have been a part of the process and have had a voice in the development of the product.

In our next few articles we’ll continue the mobile technology discussion with a look at how it is affecting both marketing and commerce in the small business world.

smartphone

Bring Your Own Device: The Pros and Cons

In our last post we discussed the rising trend of small business owners having their employees “bring your own device” (BYOD) to work.  This trend has many benefits for small businesses, but also raises some concerns.

Benefits
For the company there are several instantaneous benefits of having employees bring their own electronic devices:

  1. The bottom line. The company receives the benefits of having the added technology without incurring the cost of supplying all the equipment.
  2. Shortened learning curve.  When employees bring in their own devices, they are already familiar with how they function, which can improve their efficiency.
  3. Expanded horizons. When employees are bringing their own technologies into the office, the business has an opportunity to experience and learn about other methods of technology and interaction.  This introduction can make business owners aware of communication and business possibilities that they never knew existed.

Disadvantages
One of the biggest concerns about BYOD is the ability of the company to manage the use of the employee’s mobile device.  In fact,  in a recent report on mobile devices, only 51% of IT managers said that they had an effective strategy for dealing with this issue.  Some of the biggest challenges include:

  • managing the device
  • securing the device
  • increased need for storage
  • increased need for servers

Security remains at the forefront of the worry list, with concerns over the handling of important or sensitive business information. It is vitally important that the company can keep data secure while accommodate the “work anywhere at any time” freedom that BYOD brings.

While there are legitimate concerns, BYOD is a trend that continues to grow. For small businesses that want to keep up with the pace of technology, it is a viable option to help your business grow and thrive.

mobile devices

Bring Your Own Device: The Trend

In today’s tech savvy world, many small businesses have the desire to outfit their employees with the technology that will help their business thrive. That includes smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. However, many businesses struggle with the financial reality of supplying every employee with a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. This has led to a trend of business asking employees to BYOD – bring your own device.

In a recent study on mobile devices in small businesses, 75% of mobile device users agree with the idea that a mobile device is critical to their job and 67% believe that their business would lose their current competitive ground without their mobile devices.

What is it about these mobile devices that make them so valuable to the small business? In the study, 94% of mobile device users agreed that their devices made them more efficient in completing their assigned tasks. Their view is not far off from their IT managers, 85% of which agreed that mobile devices had made the overall company more efficient. Mobile device users sited benefits such as improved communication between the personnel in the field and the office, an increased availability to customers, increased productivity of employees, improved customer service, an increase in collaboration between fellow employees, and an overall streamline business process.

The smartphone, with its ability to access the Internet and email as well as a number of helpful apps, is currently the most popular choice for employees. However, IT managers agree that the use of tablets is going to substantially increase over the next few years.

In the most simple of terms, bring your own device means simply that: the company allows its employees to use their own mobile devices at and for work. Many businesses have started asking employees to provide their own devices to cut down on business expenses. This also gives employees more control over the devices they use at work. In our next post, we’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of the BYOD trend.

 

Windows 8 Tablets for Business

The new rage in mobile computing is the tablet, but some businesses have been left scratching their heads on how they can successfully integrate these devices into their networks. The main issue with most tablet devices is that they don’t run an operating system that is compatible with the business applications that you use on a daily basis. The answer to that will come largely through a new generation of tablets that run a full blown version of the new Windows 8 Pro operating system.

There are a couple important distinctions to make here. One is that not all Windows 8 operating systems (OS) are created equal. Windows RT comes preinstalled on the majority of Windows tablets, but is very limited in what it can do when compared to the Pro version. Windows RT is a touch-optimized OS that comes with the basic set of office 2013 applications, but you can’t install the majority of your business applications on it. RT also can’t be joined to a domain and is short a lot of the goodies that you get with Pro. If you want to be able to work on a tablet, you probably want one that runs Win 8 Pro.

There are a bunch of Windows 8 tablets that have just come out or are scheduled soon. Considering the above, I’ll highlight 3 that run Win 8 Pro and might be good picks. Here they are, in no particular order:

The Surface from Microsoft
We’ve all seen the ads plastered on TV and other media. The Surface RT came out a little while back, and the Win 8 Pro version arrived last month. Here are some quick specs on the Surface.

CPU Dual-core 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-3317U[7]
Storage capacity 64 GB (23 GB available) or 128 GB (83 GB available)[8] and microSDXC slot
Memory 4 GB dual-channel DDR3-1600 (25.6 GB/sec)
Display 10.6 inches (27 cm) 1920 x 1080 px[9] (208 ppi) ClearType HD screen with 16:9 aspect ratio
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000
Input 10-point multi-touch screen, pen input, ambient light sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, compass, dual microphones
Camera Front: 1.2 MP, 720p HD
Rear: 1.2 MP AF, 720p HD
Connectivity 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort
Dimensions 10.81 inches (27.5 cm) (w)
6.81 inches (17.3 cm) (h)
0.53 inches (13 mm) (d)
Weight 2 pounds (910 g

Microsoft Surface The Surface will be able to run most of your business applications, join a domain, and has some pretty nice hardware for a tablet. It also comes with some accessories that add functionality. The touted type cover is built to snap easily onto the tablet to give you full keyboard functionality. Thin and lightweight, it is a good option. One important note is that the Surface does not have any type of docking capability, so for mobile professionals that like to be able to dock when they are in the office, this may not be the best fit.

The Latitude 10 Windows Tablet
Dell has come out with another great option to compete with Microsoft’s first foray into the hardware business. The Latitude 10 is specifically designed to be durable for mobile business users, runs a full version of Win 8 Pro, and has some cool accessories to go with it. Here are some quick specs on it.

Processor1 Intel® Atom™ Processor Z2760 1.8GHz with Intel® Burst Technology, 1.5GHz HFM, 600MHz LFM
Operating System Options1 Microsoft® Windows 8 32-BitMicrosoft ® Windows 8 Pro 32-Bit
Memory2 2GB DDR2 SDRAM (800MHz) integrated
Graphics2 Options Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (533MHz)
Display 10.1” IPS (1366 X 768) Wide View Angle LED with Corning® Gorilla® Glass, Supports Capacitive 10 Finger Touch and Optional Wacom Active Stylus
Storage3 Options eMMC up to 128GB
Optical Drive Option External USB DVD+/-RW (optional)
Multimedia Options High quality speakers, stereo headphone/microphone combo jack, integrated/ noise reduction array microphones, integrated 720p HD front facing video webcam, 2MP front facing camera, and 8MP rear facing camera
Battery Options 2-cell (30Whr) Lithium Ion battery (swappable) Optional 4-cell (60Whr) Lithium Ion battery (swappable)
Power/Charging Options 30 Watt AC adapter
Charge via micro-USB charging portCharge via optional docking station
Connectivity Wireless LAN + Bluetooth (Standard): Dell Wireless™ 1536C (802.11 a/b/g/n 1X1) and Bluetooth 4.0 LE Combo CardMobile Broadband4 & GPS Options:
Dell Wireless ™ 5565 HSPA+ Mini Card Option
Gobi™ 4G LTE Multi-mode (Dell Wireless™ DW5806 for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless) Option
Ports, Slots & Chassis USB 2.0, SD Memory Card Reader, Docking Connector, Stereo headphone/ Microphone combo jack, Mini-HDMI, Micro-USB charging port, Micro-SIM (WWAN-only)
Input Capacitive multi-touch and optional Wacom active stylus
Expandability (optional) Latitude 10 Series docking station with 4 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, HDMI, Power Input and Audio Output
Peripherals Options1 Griffin® Survivor™ Protective Case, Dell Soft-Touch Case, Timbuk2 Cases, Mini- HDMI to DVI/VGA/HDMI/USB/Power Cable Choices, 3M Privacy Films, Charging Carts, Monitors, Wireless Keyboard/Mouse combo
Dimensions & Weight8 Width: 10.8”/274.0mmHeight: 0.4”/10.5mm with standard 2-cell battery 0.64”/15.9mm with optional 4-cell batteryDepth: 7.0”/176.6mm
Starting Weight: 658g/1.45lb with 2-cell battery
Regulatory and Environmental Compliance Regulatory Model: T05GRegulatory Type: T05G001

The Latitude Windows tabletThe Latitude 10 with Windows 8 Pro can join a domain, run all of your business applications, and has some cool accessories and the all-important docking capability. The hardware isn’t as nice as the Surface for processor or memory, but it should do the job for most routine tasks. Weight and size are comparable to the Surface, but the screen resolution isn’t as high. This would likely be a good pick for a user that needs to be able to dock and doesn’t do any high-powered computing.

The Thinkpad Tablet 2
Lenovo released their new Windows tablet offering a little bit ago to pretty decent reviews. It’s comparable to Dell’s offering and designed for business users. It boasts a full version of Windows 8 Pro, can join a domain, and has docking capabilities and some cool accessories. Here are some quick specs.

PROCESSOR OPERATING SYSTEM INTEGRATED GRAPHICS
Intel® Atom™ Processor Z2760Dual-core™, four-thread, up to 1.80 GHz processor Windows® 8 x86 (32-bit)Windows® 8 Professional x86 (32-bit)Windows® 8 Single Language x86 (32-bit)2
Windows® 8 China Only x86 (32-bit)2
Intel® Integrated HD SGX545 GFx(12 bit, 1080P Video @30fs, DX9)
DISPLAY RESOLUTION MEMORY
10.1 inch (16:9) IPS, LED Backlight, anti-glare, 5-finger multi-touch HD WXGA (1366×768) (720p) 2GB LPDD2 SDRAM
HDD WLAN a/b/g/n (MOB LGA) WWAN (TFF)
32GB/64GB (e-MMC) 802.11 a/b/g/nBluetooth® 4.0 Gobi 4000 (LTE /HSPA+)5 (for US with AT&T only)Ericsson (HSPA+) (ROW markets)
MAIN BATTERY A/C ADAPTER SENSORS
25 days: Connected Standby150 hrs: MP3 playback (LCD off, HW off loading)10hrs: Video streaming (720p, HW offloading) 5V 10W AC/DC Adapter GPSCompassAmbient Light Sensor
Proximity Sensor
Sensor Hub
BUTTONS/SWITCHES PORTS CAMERA
Button: Windows with Logo and Power On-OffSwitch: Audio Volume Up/Down, Rotation Lock and Reset to disconnect Battery input (1) USB 2.0(1) Mini HDMI(1) MicroSD Slot
(1) Docking Connector
(1) 3.5mm Mic/Headphone Combo
Front: 2MP, 720P HD Webcam with LED (inside LCD)Rear: 8MP, Auto Focus with LED Flash (outside LCD), Motion JPG
MICROPHONES SPEAKERS DIGITIZER AND PEN
Dual-array Digital Microphone with Noise Cancellation, VoIP and Noise Suppression (2) Stereo 1W, 8ohm Optional
DIMENSIONS WEIGHT
10.1” x 6.9” x 0.34”
(262.6 x 164.6 x 9.8mm)
565g (1.25lbs) – Wi-Fi only
585g (1.29lbs) – Wi-Fi + Pen/Digitizer
600g (1.3lbs) – Wi-Fi + Pen/Digitizer + 3G/4G

There are a lot of good options for those that are looking for a portable Windows tablet that can run all of their essential business applications. To help select the one that is best for your specific business needs, contact the professionals at i.t.NOW.

How to Add an Exchange Email Account to Your iPhone

Below are the steps on how to add an Exchange account to your iPhone or iPod touch. (Note: you can configure only one Exchange account per device.)

screenshot of Exchange settings on an iPhone

Step 3

screenshot of Exchange settings on an iPhone

Step 4

Exchange synchronize settings

Step 7

  1. On your iPhone or iPod, tap Settings
  2. In the Settings menu, tap Mail then Contacts, then Calendars, then Add Account, then Microsoft Exchange.
  3. On the next screen (shown at right), enter your complete email address, domain, username, password, and a description of the account (which may be anything you like). If you are unable to view your folder list, or are unable to send or receive email, leave the domain field blank.
  4. Your iPhone or iPod touch will now try to locate your Exchange server using Microsoft’s Autodiscovery service. If the server cannot be located, you will see a screen like the second one shown at right. Enter your front-end Exchange server’s complete address in the Server field.
  5. Your iPhone or iPod touch will try to create a secure (SSL) connection to your Exchange server. If it cannot do this, it will try a non-SSL connection. To override the SSL setting, go into Settings, then Mail, Contacts, Calendars, select your Exchange account, tap Account Info, then toggle the Use SSL slider.
  6. After successfully making a connection to the Exchange server, you may be prompted to change your device passcode to match whatever policies may have been set on your server.
  7. Choose which type(s) of data you would like to synchronize: Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. By default, only 3 days’ worth of email is synchronized. To synchronize more, go into Settings, then Mail, Contacts, Calendars, select your Exchange account, and tap on Mail days to sync.

**Note that after configuring an Exchange ActiveSync account, all existing contact and calendar information on the iPhone or iPod touch is overwritten. Additionally, iTunes no longer syncs contacts and calendars with your desktop computer. You can still sync your iPhone or iPod touch wirelessly with MobileMe services.