Technology is a powerful and relevant factor in the world of business. It can enable, streamline and expedite day to day tasks in powerful ways. Efficiency, portability, accessibility - all are taking leaps and bounds into the future with each new advancement in technology. Small and independent business owners especially are now more free than perhaps they have ever been as the advancement of portable computers and smartphones continues to eliminate the need for a permanent (and costly) space to base operations from, otherwise known as ‘the office’.
The ability to set-up your office anywhere means that you can work anytime. No longer bound to an office in a specific, permanent physical location, this new found flexibility and freedom effectively eliminates any challenges that are geographical in nature and allows for you to take your business with you, no matter where you are. Indeed, the "mobile office" is a byproduct of all the fantastic technology that has been developed to aid day to day office based business. But before you can create and utilize a mobile office, you need to first ensure that you've got everything you will require.
First and foremost, recognize that your mobile office is going to be centered on one specific item or component - your computer. Where once this would have meant basing your work from a desktop computer, or carting around a laptop, most tasks can now be accomplished via your smartphone. While these devices are classified primarily as phones, they are in fact (at this stage of their evolution) small, pocket sized computers. Much like the desktop or laptop is the cornerstone of a typical office environment; the smartphone is going to be the backbone of any mobile office. With a smartphone, you can search the web, check emails, organize your daily or weekly calendar, track customer activity, balance your books and take care of payroll. You can even send and receive faxes via your smartphone! All of the tasks mentioned used to mean having to physically be at the office - not anymore.
Of course, editing spreadsheets or typing out a 3000 word presentation on a 4 inch screen simply isn't going to work. Depending on what you're doing, you may need to have larger screen real estate available to you for certain tasks. The advancement of tablet computers has provided a wonderful middle ground between the desk or laptop and the smartphone. Tablets generally have a screen about 7" wide, so the screen size is adequate for editing documents or typing out letters. Most different brands make stands that prop up and display the tablet like a laptop, and also offer portable, but smaller, traditional keyboards for those who are unaccustomed to a virtual on-screen keyboard. Also popular are netbooks, micro sized laptops that are an alternative to the tablets.
An internet connection is of course going to be required. While many public spaces offer free Wi-Fi, this isn't likely going to consistently meet your needs for working. A hi-speed mobile access card or compact wireless router can take care of this easily. Purchase a monthly data plan or simply pay as you go, either option will ensure you have secure access when and where you need it.
Utilizing an online backup system is a great way to make sure that all of your work is safe in the event of a device crash, not to mention, it also enables data accessibility across multiple devices. Think of it as more of a virtual "filing cabinet" - a safe and secure location where all of your data is stored.
With your mobile computing device, internet connection, business applications, data back-up and accessibility established, you now have to decide which peripherals you will require for your mobile office. A backup power supply is generally a good idea along with a surge protector for fluctuations in power. If you've chosen to go the laptop route, an extra battery and power cable are must-haves. Now, while most documents can be edited and displayed easily on a tablet or netbook and also stored and accessed on a third party backup system, there still may be a need to print various files on to paper. With the rise of smartphones have come small, slim, portable printers that are very capable and can even receive files via Bluetooth. Many portable printers don't even require ink, instead, they print onto thermal paper that has the look and feel of regular paper. Most are slim and small enough that they can be transported easily in a briefcase or laptop bag. And like their larger sized siblings, many portable printers are also capable of scanning images as well.
With as little as a smartphone, or tablet with connected keyboard and mouse, a secure internet connection, a backup service for your data and a portable printer, your mobile office is set-up for work. Whether you’re commuting by train, holed up in your hotel room or sitting in your car – your mobile office is ready to work, whenever, and wherever you need it to no matter where you are.
Author Bio : Jeremy Pradell is a product specialist at MetroFax. MetroFax has just released an updated MetroFax Mobile App for iPad and Android tablets that will enable their clients to more securely access their faxes from anywhere.
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