One of the challenges of implementing new technology in a small business environment is ensuring that the new gadgets you adopt do not impede your business operations. As small business owners seek out tools that are easy to use and simplify their workflow, we take a look at five new and emerging technologies that could help boost your productivity.
1. Bring the big screen with you
ZTE SPro2 for AT&T: This do-it-all Swiss Army knife gadget runs Android, connects your laptops and tablets to AT&T's 4G LTE network and can also project your pictures, videos, and presentations to a white wall. For mobile sales teams that need to give impressive impromptu pitches, the SPro2's slightly bulkier design is a worthwhile tradeoff given that you can leave behind the bulk of a laptop, standalone projector, and a tangled array of cables and cords behind at the office.
I've used last year's model available on Sprint's LTE Spark network as the LivePro and the versatility of the design means that you can go from watching a Netflix movie at home to giving a boardroom presentation at the office with a single device. The SPro2 improves on that experience with a more powerful lamp, meaning you won't need a near pitch dark room to get a bright projection on a wall.
And if you're not in a sharing mood, the built-in display on top of the SPro2 runs Google's full Android OS so you can play a round of Angry Birds by yourself without having to project your game to a wall.
2. Cut the cord
Wireless charging: If you're tired of trying to find the right charging cable to accommodate your wall-hugging ways, wireless charging may be a simple solution. One of the standards, Powermat, is slowly being deployed at popular chains like Starbucks in the US and McDonald's in the UK. However, the downside is that you can't walk around and pull up documents or play Angry Birds on your phone when you're wirelessly charging - the technology requires direct contact between your device and a charging plate.
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Enter Energous and its WattUp wireless charging box. Mounted to a wall, WattUp looks like a smoke detector encased in a black box. Gadgets - tablets, smartphones, wearables, and other peripherals requiring 5W or less of power - equipped with a WattUp receiver could receive wireless power transmission up to 15 feet (5m) away, allowing you to freely roam the halls of your office checking email on your smartphone while still being able to juice up your device without having to be tethered to a wall.
3. Intel's Fifth Generation 'Broadwell' processor
More power: Intel announced that its fifth generation processor, known as Broadwell, will be coming to laptops, tablets, and computing devices this year. It will provide more power with greater battery efficiency. Road warriors will be able to do more in the field
As an example, Dell's CES 2015 show-stunner XPS 13 Ultrabook offers more performance and doubles the battery life compared to last year's model. The new XPS 13 can go for up to fifteen hours on a single charge - nearly two days of computing time - while Fujitsu's latest Lifebook promises up to 20 hours of computing time.
And while notebooks based on the Broadwell architecture benefit from a 50% increase in processing power, the biggest gain to road warriors living inside Microsoft's Office suite will be enhanced battery life.