In business, you’re often only as good as your tools. Take for example the ability to check emails on your mobile phone. It sounds simple now but several years ago it wasn’t a guarantee that everyone had a compatible phone. If you didn’t, you trailed behind on the communication front and would often end up bringing up a point of concern already submitted via email. The result would be that you’d end up looking archaic and unprofessional.
Business tools have advanced since then, and now there is the standard issue apps that everyone should have, but then there are also cutting edge products that cinch the deal and help keep clients impressed. Here are our top nine for the week.
Data – Traditional hard drives are bulky and can’t protect data; still they’re a must for on the go business owners. The Rocsafe MX External Drive solves that problem by requiring a smartcard and PIN for access – making it virtually unhackable. Shared data drives can still be accessed by giving additional users their own smart cards. The Rocksafe MX offers real-time encryption as files transfer at lightning speed. [Retails $457]
Conferencing – Whether you’re on Skype or Facetime, you’ll be able to make use of a Tiki, a smart and discreetly sized USB microphone that uses advanced digital signal processing (DSP). DSP mimics human intelligence and hearing faculties to draw in the desired sound and help minimize all outside sounds. This is a great tool for small business owners trying to hold a quick video call in heavily trafficked areas. [Retails $59]
Presentations – If you’re often giving presentations in front of an audience, you might find it difficult to control a mouse. Enter the Loop Pointer, which makes it far easier to navigate a presentation. While it gets high marks for design, it does have a learning curve. [Retail $99]
Screens – If you like the feel of a presentation in your own office, check out the Acer Aspire Z5600. The 23” touch enabled desktop PC rivals the Mac in exterior design and beats it by at least half in price. Being a PC, it’ll go over well with those of you who don’t want to learn a whole new OS but still want a sleeker design and functionality. The Acer Aspire offers an impressive 2.33GHz processor and 8 GB of RAM with 1000 GB of storage. Aside from office use, touch-enabled screens are becoming popular in store fronts where buyers are encouraged to engage with the product or service.
Pitches – Designed for the perfect elevator pitch, the MPro150 lets users host a multi-media presentation through a pocket-sized LED projector. Images can range from 8 to 50 inches and can be projected onto any flat screen, including the back of an airplane seat. The lamp has a shelf life of 20K hours with two hours of actual presentation time and up to 3 GB of memory. It can also project from your desktop and iPhone. [Retail $395]
Scanning –The Magic Wand is reminiscent of World War II spy technology as seen by most of us with zealous glee as we were children. However, rather than steal sensitive information from the opposition, you can use it to instantly scan documents by sliding it across a page, yielding high resolution images without the need for light adjustments. It’s 10” long, weighing 7.5 oz with a 32 GB SD card. Images are transferable to your computer with a standard USB connection. [Retail $99.99]
Video Network – Many small business owners suffer from separation anxiety. They don’t want to leave their storefront or business office for fear that they won’t know what’s going on. The Vue Personal Video Network eases these qualms. A wireless, self-installable video system, Vue includes two cameras that stream on the web and has a battery life of a full year. The downside is that there’s no live feed but offers images when requested. It’s a good and simple solution for keeping tabs, but not for aggressive monitoring. [Retail $299]
Mobile Convenience – While Siri is otherwise overrated, third party developers are looking to create an opportunity for buyers to comparison shop on the spot. So while you’re at one vendor checking out a product, you can ask Siri to source a cheaper find elsewhere.
On the phone front and sticking with the point of future developments, you’ll also see a rise in wave-and-pay services that let you scan your phone to make a transaction. Referred to as near-field communication (NFC), you’ll see this feature in smart phones and already available on devices like the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Nexus. You’ve already seen this technology rise in just this year alone with the NFC enabled “smart” posters – those black and white jigsaw icons you can scan your phone over to get more information on a product.
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