Getting the right tech for better business intelligence can not only help you make and save money, it can also help manage your time and customer relationships. Here are ten current gadgets to help you do more business:
1. Bluetooth modem
A Bluetooth modem provides wireless internet access to Bluetooth-enabled devices when standard Wi-Fi or broadband is unavailable. This device is perfect for sales staff that travel to remote or regional areas where networks are patchy or non-existent. Bluetooth modems can deliver speeds of up to 56KB per second but you will need to arrange a contract for the service with your internet provider.
2. Magic Cube Laser Keyboard
Love your smartphone or tablet but forever cursing its inability to provide you with a proper keyboard for faster typing? Celulon’s virtual laser keyboard may be your answer! The size of a Zippo lighter, you simply turn it on and a laser beam generates a full-size, fully operational QWERTY keyboard that connects seamlessly to your wireless devices. It can also operate in total darkness – for those who can’t switch off, literally.
3. Solar powered laptop bag
The one downfall of smartphones and tablets is their voracious appetite for power, which can often be difficult to satisfy if you’re on the move. A solar-powered laptop bag is covered in solar panels and, for every hour it spends in the sun, it will charge your device for 45 minutes. The bag can also be charged the through a power point - great if you’re more into convenience than you are designer style.
4. Mobile phone projector
Mobile phones with built-in projector facilities are set to become as commonplace and sophisticated as camera phones. Quickly and easily projected presentations, video or images stored on your phone without having to organise a bulky old-fashioned projector. And size is not an issue, with some phone projectors able to transmit images at more than 50 inches.
5. Business card reader
The need to carry around a bulky wallet full of dog-eared business cards is a thing of the past. Business card reader apps let you scan and import contact details from a business card directly into your smartphone address book.. Most recognise numerous languages and integrate automatically with LinkedIn. Perfect for sales teams and anyone who attends trade shows, expos or networking events.
6. Digital spy pen
It may not sound like an item suitable for a boardroom meeting but this recording device, camera and pen combo has far greater applications for business than it does for espionage. Pull it out to record meeting notes – it’s far less intrusive than a traditional dictaphone and will therefore get better results. It also eliminates the need to carry around yet another piece of technology. Now, if only it came with your own personal transcriber.
7. Olympus VN-5500 PC DNS: You talk, it types
Designed for business owners who like to record everything they do, be it meetings, conference calls, presentations or lectures – perhaps you are one of them? Users can download sound files straight to their computer for archive, email or transcribing. This means you can effortlessly share information with your team, with up to 99% accuracy, or, using the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 software included, you can convert speech into text.
8. Jawbone Bluetooth headsets
Here’s a gadget that not only makes life easier but also much safer (and in many situations, legal!) How many times do you get caught on the road needing to urgently take a call? Wireless headsets are a must for those who need to talk while on-the-go, or for those who just like to keep their hands free – after all, typing and talking becomes so much more efficient! There are many Bluetooth headsets available but Jawbone headsets continuously get great reviews.
9. Neat Digital Scanner
Look across your desk – is there a pile of receipts to expense somewhere? If you’re the type of person who has all of their thoughts on scraps of paper, or someone who never claims expenses because it takes too long, then a Neat digital scanner is going to save you time, and money. Scan receipts, notes, business cards etc straight to your computer and keep them in order with the compatible software.
We have to give it to Steve Jobs – he transformed the business world. The iPad’s business applications are seemingly endless, but on top of its ability to give you real time connection to your business, finance and sales data, it can also be handy for taking notes in meetings.
Your important musings will be there, ready to reference when you need them without the dreary task of having to go back and transcribe them from a Dictaphone or rewriting your hand written scribbles. Simply jot down key points in Simplenote and, later, you can search the entire document for one word to find the point you need. And best of all, it’s less obtrusive than having your laptop open on the table.