Thanks to the constant connectivity provided by mobile devices, you (and your office on wheels) can be accessible and ready to work from anywhere. But the needs of today’s on-the-move pro go beyond simply having the devices and software necessary to work anywhere. In an increasingly cloud-based world, wireless connectivity is essential. Here are a few must-have tools that can help you be productive, no matter where you are. While we don’t typically recommend specific products or services, we do offer some specific examples below, just for sample pricing and capability information purposes.
Having a solid connection to the Internet while you are out and about is an absolute necessity. Having a mobile hotspot is the perfect alternative to coffee shops and hotel rooms and frees up professionals to work anywhere. Many mobile service providers offer their own Wi-Fi hotspots, and they can sometimes be bundled with other devices for a cost savings.
- Verizon 4G LTE MiFi-;At a current price of $269.99 or $49.99 with a two-year contract, this is a great deal for Verizon customers, putting WiFi wherever you are. There are additional costs, including a monthly line charge of $20 and a data package, which can range from $30-$70 per month.
- Karma WiFi-;With Karma, customers pay $14 for each 1 GB of data usage. This is a good cost savings option for those who only occasionally find themselves without Wi-Fi access when they need it.
Some smartphones and tablets offer mobile hotspot capabilities, providing users with the ability to connect multiple devices for Wi-Fi access while on the road.
A mobile scanner gives professionals the ability to capture receipt information, send documents to colleagues, or capture copies of contracts. The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 Instant PDF Document Scanner weighs only 12 ounces, making it lightweight enough to carry along on trips, while still being powerful enough to use at home or in the office. Retail price: $199.
Even in today’s paperless world, professionals still have the occasional need to print documents, especially while traveling to meetings and conferences. The HP Officejet 100 Mobile Color Inkjet Printer - L411a is a great choice because it has a long-life, lithium ion battery, providing up to 500 pages on one battery charge. Retail price: $279.99.
A notebook that will suit a mobile life must have a long battery life and a small form factor and still be comfortable for typing. There are some great options on the market from HP and Dell, including the Dell XPS Notebook, which I find a perfect solution for mobile productivity.
Professionals should also always back up any work conducted on the road, to a cloud-based backup solution, corporate servers, or an external hard drive.
Having both a tablet and a notebook is ideal for busy professionals, since a tablet provides connectivity while moving from job to job. Professionals usually find they also need a notebook, however, for handling heavy-duty jobs, especially when a large amount of typing is involved. The largest market share for tablets is the iPad, but Microsoft Windows 8 and Android-based tablets provide good compatibility for those who have Windows notebooks.
It’s important that professionals keep accessories in mind as they head out on the road. A prepared professional always keeps extra chargers for the car and the hotel room in the front pocket of his laptop bag. It’s important to make sure the charger works with car adapters before leaving for a long trip.
RAMON RAY | Columnist
Editor and technology evangelist at Smallbiztechnology.com, which covers technology trends for small business. His latest book is the Amazon.com best-seller Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing.