The cellphone was always a device associated with people wanting to do business more efficiently. Way back in the 1980s, the first bulky mobile phones were linked in the public imagination with city traders and go-getting business types. However, it was with the advent of the smartphone that the way that we do business really changed, and ongoing innovations have been geared as much towards helping out executives and entrepreneurs as they have pleasing the public.
The do-anything device
The modern smartphone is powerful enough for you to run an entire business from your pocket. The activities that it facilitates are easy to take for granted but would have seemed miraculous just 20 years ago. For a start, you can always be contacted, and you can communicate with just about anyone in the world from almost anywhere on the planet. As well as calls and texts, a smartphone lets you access the internet, send and receive emails, engage in video conferencing, and work collaboratively with others on the cloud.
Remote working is one of the most important business revolutions facilitated by the smartphone. With this small device in your pocket, you no longer always need to be in the office to be getting on with your job. It also means that you can work with people around the world, meaning that timing and geography no longer get in the way of employing the very best in your field. Remote working also cuts down on overheads, increases productivity, and improves the work-life balance for busy employees.
Out in the field
When you’re working out in the field or away from the office, the smartphone lets you book transport and accommodation, access spreadsheets for accounting, order stock, and make payments. To wind down or pass the time on long journeys, you can listen to podcasts or music, or play games online, taking advantage of offers such as LuckyLand Slots free sweeps. Smartphones are also much safer and more convenient to carry around than a laptop, as it can be remotely wiped and then cloned if it’s lost or stolen. The cost of a replacement is much less, and all data can be backed up to the cloud.
Unlike a powerful desktop equipped with all the latest software, a decent smartphone is affordable technology for entrepreneurs worldwide, and puts them on virtually the same footing as major companies almost instantly. Smartphone apps fulfill much the same function as expensive business software but at a fraction of the price. A small business in a desert village can suddenly gain access to a worldwide market, competing alongside those in New York, London or Tokyo.
The latest innovations being rolled out bring even more benefits to business. There are now smartphones that include a built-in laser projector that can be used for PowerPoint presentations on the go: perfect for livening up your next elevator pitch! The Gemini smartphone has a physical keyboard that folds out, allowing you to use it like a mini laptop. It’s very much designed with businesses in mind, featuring an internal camera for video calls but no external one.
For fieldwork, a new generation of hard-wearing smartphones are being developed that will stand up to the toughest treatment and will even work underwater. One example, the Cat S61, produced in association with the construction equipment firm Caterpillar, also has a thermal imaging function that can be streamed live, and a built-in air quality sensor. A laser-based system also allows it to easily measure distances.
Back to basics
The Light Phone 2 isn’t a smartphone, but it is an innovative package designed to complement your existing smartphone with business users in mind. Roughly the size of a credit card, but slightly thicker, it fits in your wallet for situations when taking your smartphone isn’t appropriate, or as a handy back-up if your smartphone is lost or compromised. It doesn’t take photos or let you access the internet or social media, and it doesn’t register your location, so it’s perfect for security-sensitive work when you still need to keep in touch.
The future will doubtless see many more smartphone innovations with business in mind. The rollout of 5G and the Internet of Things will bring greater connectivity, while virtual and augmented reality will lead to more sophisticated presentations and mobile advertising. The smartphone is an essential tool for today’s business, and will doubtless continue to drive change and innovation in the future.