Category Archives: Featured

The Next Big Thing

Nexus 7 Tablet Everyone is looking for the “Next Big Thing” and I have good news … it is closer than you think. It started slowly a few years ago and is picking up speed rapidly. I see more and more evidence the explosion will happen soon and you should be ready.

What is the “Next Big Thing?” Tablets. That’s right, tablets. They have taken off in the consumer market and are beginning to move to the business market. The normal progression is underway and it will follow the same course as the laptop and cell phone, with many companies living the value of these devices.

Cell phones slowly moved from consumer to business and really began the BYOD* movement. As with all things, business is hesitant to implement new technology until it has proven itself in several arenas. Those being;

  • Security
  • Price
  • Software availability
  • Tie-in to existing systems
  • Ease of transition
  • Training
  • Implementation

The first two points are being addressed as fast as the manufacturers can move. Security has to be a number one priority for the devices before any IT group will take them seriously. Pricing is important when calculated against existing expenses for outfitting personnel. The software for most modern software is either available as an app or web-based, with the later making almost any application available on mobile devices. Ease of transition, training, and implementation only involves a rock-solid project management plan and team.

The big hold up is the ability to tie into existing systems. This is the one keeping IT departments up at night as upper management pushes to rush tablets into the hands of outside sales people because of all the Pros for doing so. How do you make it so the new device can talk to legacy hardware in the corporate office? That is the big deal that will soon be as irrelevant as how to move a cell phone into the workflow.

Are you ready? Is your company? I suggest you get ready because the train has left the station and is picking up speed.

*Bring Your Own Device

My dream of one device is almost a reality

In early 2004, I dreamed of a single device for computing. I carried a cell phone, Palm T5 PDA and a Dell laptop for “on the go” access and had a desktop computer at the office. No matter what I wanted, it was on one of the other devices. I wanted one piece of hardware to be all that was needed.

I thought it happened in early 2005 when a customer came by the office to show off his OQO Model 1 computer. It was larger than my Palm with its 5” screen, but was still a handheld computer running a full version of Microsoft Windows. With the slide-out keyboard and the desktop dock, I thought this was it. Not exactly.

Disappointment

The hardware just couldn’t handle the bulk of Windows XP. It was slow and awkward with little memory and not enough room for all those big PC programs we ran on our desktops. The price was pretty steep at almost $2000. No, this wasn’t the ONE and I would have to wait a few more months for my one single device.

Android is the Bomb

A few months turned into a few years and now seven years later, it seems the promise of my dream is closer. Yesterday on Droid Life, they linked to a video out of the UK where a Galaxy Nexus was being used as a desktop computer. I’ve known this was possible for some time, but it is awful fussy. It’s still fussy, but the process is getting better.

Galaxy Nexus as a desktop engine

Using the right adapter and a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you can do almost everything on it. With cloud computing and the availability of great apps, one device can be your only piece of hardware.

We now have mobile versions of Mint, Evernote, Documents to Go, along with thousands of others. And if no app is available, just fire up the browser and do your computing from there. With a 20+ inch monitor it will be just fine.

With just a bluetooth keyboard, it makes an awesome mobile computer. Fire up Documents to Go and start drafting a business proposal, or open WordPress and get started on an article with pictures and videos posted straight from your phone.

IMG_0291IMG_0289IMG_0290

Now I’m off to order the usb to mhl adapter for my Nexus.

Is this something your interested in?

A Closer Look at Google Web Applications

Most people are familiar with Google’s Gmail application. It is lightweight, easy to use, and accessible from any computer with an Internet connection. It has redefined the word webmail for those of us using it daily. Some reasons: Conversation mode, search, and labels are a few of the tools that make it the killer web-application for most businesses.

Gmail might be the application that launched Google into the web software business, but is certainly wasn’t the last. With more than a baker’s dozen of applications, Google has jumped into this market completely. A few applications overlap with the Zoho list from yesterday, but others are solely Google’s.

Here is the list for Google.

  1. Search—Web search toolGoogle Search
  1. Docs—Feature-rich word processor
  2. Spreadsheets—Fully functioning spreadsheetGDocsandSheets
  3. Gmail—Webmail done rightGmail
  4. Calendar—Calendar on steroidsGCalendar
  5. Page Creator—Web-page creator
  6. Notebook—Collect all your web “stuff” into one place
  7. Desktop—Local search, including network drives
  8. Picasa—Photo software + web photosPicasa
  9. Blogger—Free blogging software
  10. Groups—Water cooler gathering placeGGroups
  11. Web Alerts—See what’s said about your company on the web
  12. Reader—Bring the web to youGReader
  13. Maps—Find an address and get directions
  14. Chat—Real-time communication

The more you look at the features of this new breed of online software applications, the more you see the value. They are very robust and combined with other packages, make up a comprehensive collection of business software. The best part … the cost. All of these Google applications are free to use, even for a company.

I use many of these daily, and find them more than adequate for business use. The newest application I use is Google Alerts. I have set up searches for my name, company, and product lines. Google scours the Internet, gathers every instance of matching criteria and sends me an email with links and brief descriptions of the articles. This keeps me in touch with what is said about me or the company, allowing me to respond or ignore at my discretion.

Are you starting to feel overwhelmed with the choices out there, just waiting for your company to try? First, determine what company processes can benefit from the advantages of online software. Second, run a limited, controlled test with the application to make sure it is capable of doing the job. Third, put together an implementation plan for bringing the application to the rest of the employees.

Next, I’ll show you how the products from Zoho and Google map to your current products. It will give you a better picture of which applications you want to look at first.

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