Volume 11, Issue 4 - July/August 2009

Field of Vision
from the editor

by Penny Stacey

I’ve always considered myself rather technologically savvy. I catch on pretty quickly to anything computer-related and don’t leave home without my iPOD.

But then one day I received a call from a reader who proved me to be anything but tech-savvy—at least in today’s world of gadgets.

“I’m hoping to upgrade my phone to maybe a BlackBerry® or iPhone,” said this particular reader. “You know, something I can use on the road pretty easily. What do you recommend? What kind of PDA do you use?”

I looked down at my purse and had to chuckle. You see, as much as I love my iPOD, my cell phone is the simplest, most economical Nokia you can purchase. It doesn’t take pictures; it doesn’t have e-mail access; and it definitely doesn’t have a keyboard.

So, I transferred the caller to a co-worker who is a veritable expert in smart phones and started to do some research of my own. As I looked into all the devices available to mobile technicians and auto glass shop owners, I realized that there is a lot out there—and it’s not easy to sort through.

There are also a variety of GPS systems out there ranging from all prices and with a variety of functions. There is even auto glass software that links into the GPS systems, and software designed for mobile devices such as the BlackBerry available.

I started asking around to find out what mobile devices, including GPS systems, other readers find handy, and I soon realized there’s a need for this information in the industry. On page 50, you’ll see a compilation of these devices.

Even if you’re set by way of GPS units and software, the thing I hear repeatedly in our own “Driving Technology” column and in the various Internet seminars I’ve attended are three key points:

• In today’s business world, you have to have a website;

• And, if you have a website, you have to give potential customers a way to contact you—preferably by e-mail, as, if they’ve come to the web for their auto glass needs, they might just want to continue to seek work on the web; and

• Finally, if a potential customer e-mails you and you don’t get back to them quickly, chances are, they’ll have taken their business elsewhere by the time you reply.

Fortunately, the variety of devices featured on page 50 makes it possible for you to do all of these things. They truly do seem to be an investment in your business—and hopefully this section will help you to invest wisely when and if you decide to take this technological plunge. Also, several insurers recently have been promoting applications for reporting first notice of loss via smart phone; sending photos; and more. Who knows what might be next in this arena?

The annual AGRR Buyer’s Guide also is included in this issue on page 40. This section also is designed to help you grow your business, as it gathers all the industry’s manufacturers and suppliers, their contact information and listings of the products they make and supply all in one place. Hopefully you’ll find this convenient listing helpful, and, if there are other items you would like to see included in next year’s guide, please e-mail me at pstacey@glass.com.

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine/glassBYTEs.comTM

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