Volume 18, Issue 5 - September/October 2014

Open 24/7
by Manny Hondroulis



Technology for Small Businesses


“Dump the DSL and upgrade to cable or fiber optic internet service. Providers like Comcast, Verizon and Google bring high speed internet to your office in a very cost-effective way.”


It’s no secret that, as time passes, different technologies become more widespread and cost-effective. It used to be that only large corporations could afford certain marvels such as fax machines, scanners and high speed internet. So much has changed in 20 years that what was once out of reach is now available in the most remote parts of the world.

As I look at my own organization, I contemplate what tools each employee and the office itself need to be more effective. Here is a list of technologies that I believe are essential yet are affordable to the average window film dealer.

High Speed Internet

Dump the DSL and upgrade to cable or fiber optic internet service. Providers like Comcast, Verizon and Google bring high speed internet to your office in a very cost-effective way. Deciding on a plan really depends on your online behavior. If all you do is check email and casually surf the web, you most likely can make due with one of the less expensive plans. If you also upload photos, stream videos, and have multiple devices accessing the internet at once, consider one of the faster plans. Keep in mind that connecting your device via Wi-Fi and not through an Ethernet cable can slow down your performance. You can check your current internet speed by visiting a website such as www.speedtest.net. Even if you already have cable or fiber optic, you may not realize how slow your connection really is compared to what else is available.

High Definition TV Monitor

Have your employees ever gathered around one person’s small computer screen to see something? Ever tried to make a presentation from a small monitor? Consider purchasing a high definition TV monitor and mount it to the wall (a conference room works best). You can not only watch TV, which may not be too productive while working, but you can also hook up your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone to it and broadcast to the audience in the room. It’s much easier than huddling around one person’s monitor and makes sense if you’re inviting architects to your office for product presentations. Consumer Reports is a trustworthy source for choosing a great HDTV. Make sure that whatever you choose has the correct audio and video inputs to ensure connectivity.

Tablet

I’m an iPad fan, plain and simple. I really wouldn’t know what to do without it. I find myself using my iPad more than any other device. I use it to check email, surf the web, and make mobile presentations when in a prospect’s or customer’s office. It’s so versatile and much easier to use than a smartphone because of its size. If you’re not an Apple fan, you should know that Samsung’s Galaxy line of tablets, which run Google’s Android OS, seem to earn high marks in Consumer Reports. You will need Wi-Fi or a data plan using carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T to have online access. Consider arming all of your salespeople with a tablet.

Laptop

I just described how important my iPad is but truth be told, I still need a laptop. I prefer using a lightweight but fast laptop so that I can maintain mobility without sacrificing performance. This combination eliminates the requirement to have a desktop PC. In fact, I haven’t had a desktop since 2002. While my tablet and smartphone run iOS, my laptop is Windows-based. I need a Windows-based machine for two simple reasons: to run my company’s accounting software; and to run EFILM Energy Analysis. The compatibility between my laptop and my iOS mobile devices isn’t the greatest but it is still quite manageable.

These are just a few ideas of affordable technologies to help your office run more effectively and efficiently. Be sure to do your research before making any purchase, especially since technology changes and what might be modern today is a dinosaur tomorrow.

WF

Manny Hondroulis is vice president for Energy Products Distribution in Baltimore.

 

Manny Hondroulis is vice president for Energy Products Distribution in Baltimore.

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