WITH the news that Google Glass is being trialled by Edinburgh Airport staff, wearable technology has now gone from being a novelty more commonly seen in a science fiction film to a significant tool that could change the way businesses operates.
Forbes recently reported that the giants in the wearable tech industry are designing with business needs in mind. And one study claims that wearable technology has the potential to increase productivity by as much as 8.5% and this figure is likely to increase as more and more wearable tech pieces are introduced to the market.
Just a few months ago, Apple launched the iWatch, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. These more powerful devices are allowing app developers to create new apps, or update older versions, to allow business people to work more efficiently, even while they are on the move.
As finance directors have to travel more and more, staying connected and being able to stay productive can be increasingly difficult, but there is a wide range of apps that can be exploited, which fall into three categories: collaboration, convenience and relaxation.
Collaboration: Already a fantastic way of communicating while traveling, Viber is adding video calling very soon. Currently it is faster and, in practice, seems to provide a better sound quality than Skype. Viber also offers free text and picture messaging and calls to any country via smartphone, tablet or laptop. As video calling is arriving soon, staying in touch with overseas offices is going to be easier and cheaper than ever.
If you need to share documents across devices, Dropbox provides the solution. It allows businesses to privately share documents with specific members of the team and they can access them remotely on any device, without the need to save files as different types for each device. This removes the need to email files back and forth, and takes the pain out of mobile access by making files available everywhere.
Convenience: Wearable technology has come a long way from the 1975 Pulsar Calculator Watch, and experts forecast massive business potential. Just one such innovation, set to be released this November, is the web3 Glass, the world’s first wearable corporate buying tool. Taking advantage of the potential of Google Glass, web3 will allow easier and quicker ordering of essentials, allowing nurses to re-order ward supplies, field engineers to order specific parts or shop managers to order new stock. Finance directors will also be able to approve purchase requisitions and budgets while on the move with a simple tap or voice command.
More people travel for business than ever before, but ensuring you arrive on time for your flight is just as important as it always was. Flight Update Pro provides up-to-date details on flights, letting you know what the departure gate is and whether the flight is on time or not.
Once you’re on board and 40,000 feet up, keeping up with changes in exchange rates is easy with XE. Available across devices, this user-friendly app allows quick, easy access to the latest rates for every currency.
In order to help users avoid a wallet full of business cards from networking, Cam Card quickly scans and saves all the contact information at a touch of a button. If you don’t want to carry round a stack of cards, Cam Card has a function to exchange E-cards. These allow you to swap details with someone nearby in a quick and eco-friendly manner.
Finally, as tinkering with spreadsheets is a large part of an finance director’s life and probably always will be, Google Sheets has been developed to allow you to create, edit and collaborate on spreadsheets on the move on a smartphone or tablet. Google Sheets’ offline editing capabilities, updated conditional formatting, and new and improved collaboration capabilities make it a great choice to replace Excel while on the go.
Relaxation: When finance directors are away from the office, it can be hard to relax, but there are a couple of great apps that can relieve the boredom of an empty hotel room. TED has been designed for exactly this situation, allowing the user to view thousands of talks and lectures from a variety of sources. There are finance lectures from leaders in the field, on topics such as “Where the next financial crisis is?”, providing a great insight for an FD.
If you miss the sounds of home while abroad, apps such as TuneIn allows you to get UK radio from anywhere in the world free of charge, letting you to listen to the latest news updates or hear about the big match wherever you are.
Apps allow you to utilise technology in new and increasingly useful ways, giving you the ability to have everything you need without carrying extra equipment. As globalisation continues apace, and the role of an FD becomes increasingly mobile, it’s essential to make sure you are ready to tackle any task – from anywhere. ?
Peter Chadha is founder of IT advisers DrPete Inc Ltd. He can be found tweeting at @drpete7