There you are in a hotel, two or three time zones from home, feet up and cool beverage in hand. You’ve finished your meetings for the day and now it’s time to open the laptop, check on email, review your next presentation, and get ready for tomorrow. Except the hotel’s Internet connection is down so your laptop isn’t talking to anyone, at least for the time being. Not a problem. You have your hand-held, perhaps a BlackBerry or maybe a Treo, and you’re still in business.
Mobile computing has improved exponentially in the last few years to the point that, today, you can make phone calls, receive and send emails and instant messages, take pictures, update your calendar, browse the Internet, download and review documents, and play music, all from that one small device. There are models that have WiFi capability, 3G technology, and video recording ability. With some, you can even figure out where you are with GPS capabilities.
With older handheld devices, when you were away from home base and your PDA’s synching cradle, you had to depend on email or a phone call to let you know about a schedule change. No more. The newer handhelds have push technology that doesn’t wait for you to ask “What’s new?” Changes to your calendar, tasks, and email in Outlook take only seconds to automatically synch to your BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or mobile phone calendar.
Sometimes what you need is a quick look at a document or spreadsheet. No problem now for the newer handhelds. With small screen readers much better than they used to be, you can receive Acrobat, Excel and Word documents on your phone and read them easily. This capability becomes even more powerful coupled with the latest version of MOSS (Microsoft’s Office SharePoint Server) intranet software. Now, handheld users can see mobile versions of their KPI data, those all-important measures of performance.
Imagine you are at a client’s office an hour away from your office. How much would it be worth to know that the prospect you’ve been trying to get in to see for months can see you today if you can be there in two hours? That’s when you can quickly see the value of making a full-featured handheld part of your every day business outfit.
With these new mobile computing options there is no longer any question about whether we can be connected anytime, anywhere.
Should we always be connected? Ah, that is a topic for another day.
*Mark Buckingham is an IT specialist with a successful career spanning almost 30 years. To learn more see: www.chillit.com.au
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