Technology is constantly evolving and affecting everyone’s lives. Whether you live in a bustling city or a quiet farm, whether you are an Internet media mogul or own a small boutique, technology will have an impact on how you live, work and play. Technology is especially important in the business world and most business owners and executives know that if their business is not keeping up with the current technology in their field, they will lose clients and business to their competitors.
“Technology is a vital part of the wireless industry and technology enhancements allow smartphones and tablets to offer cutting edge features,” says Sarah Stumpf with U.S. Cellular. “These product enhancements help U.S. Cellular meet the needs of our customers and help business professionals, including our associates, communicate in a timely manner. The overall smartphone penetration was at 48 percent earlier this year, according to a Nielsen survey of 20,000 Americans. Smartphones and tablets keep on-the-go individuals connected and organized throughout the day, making it easy to communicate and sync a calendar for convenient planning.
U.S. Cellular’s strong lineup of cutting-edge Android-powered and Windows Phones offer constant access to emails, social media sites, helpful apps and the Internet for business professionals.
Businesses also are finding new uses for mobile technology through apps and social media. There are hundreds of business-friendly applications that can do much more than anything you will find in your briefcase. From document scanning to travel planning, U.S. Cellular has devices with access to apps that cover a multitude of business functions.”
When it comes to the hospitality business, Leigh Ann Gobber with NBE Solutions also knows how important technology is. “In the hospitality business, computerized point of sale terminals and now, wireless mobility gives business owners tools and resources that can help them grow their business and decrease cost. As technology is available, restaurant owners see the value it can provide their restaurants and want to offer it to make them more money. However, not every customer wants or can afford that technology. Just like the cell phone industry, a flip phone still exists for those who want to keep it simple…in our industry, the cash register, although older technology, is still a valuable tool and our sales are still strong in that category. Our showroom offers several different types of technology, new and older.”
Telecommunications businesses are very involved in new technology and Dice Communications is no different. Zach Dice states, “The evolution of the mobile and remote workers has allowed us to be more flexible and grow with ease. I am able to have employees in six states, yet still connect and collaborate like we are in the same building.” Dice is always on the cutting edge of technology so they can provide new solutions for their business clients. Zach describes some of the new solutions they are able to offer: “Alcatel-Lucent has a great software, My Teamwork, that enables multimedia, multiparty business communications. My Teamwork can establish a secure audio, web or HD video conference with anyone inside or outside our company from any telephone or multiple video endpoint device, any location, and any browser for spontaneous collaboration. We, and our clients who use this software, can have companywide meetings with hardly any notice.”
“At Nouvo Design, technology is our business,” explains Justin Henriksen. “We create web, apps and interactive design elements. From a design aspect, we rely on the computer technology to create designs and test the use interfaces we create. From a usability standpoint, our designs are viewed on technological devices such as smartphones, laptops and desktop computers. Knowing the newest technology and understanding the brilliance of that technology is the most important topic in how to help our clients reach their most important consumers at the places they’re shopping—on the web.”
U.S. Cellular is a company that always needs to be on the cutting edge and is excited about the new technology they are able to utilize. “Android-powered devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III, are designed to enhance your life and make it easier to access messaging, watch videos and share information,” says Sarah Stumpf. “Using revolutionary technology, the Galaxy S III is capable of doing things never seen before with other smartphones. With Share Shot, there is no longer a need to email or download photos. Photos taken can be immediately shared with up to five others by synching devices. Photos, calendars, documents and videos can be shared simply with S Beam by touching Galaxy S III phones together.
Our stores will also carry the Galaxy Note II, which is designed to enhance the standards of performance, productivity and power in a unique device that combines a powerful smartphone with the best functionally aspects of a tablet. The Galaxy Note II features a brilliant 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen that allows for easy viewing of websites, video, crystal clear pictures and videos with vibrant color rendering.”
Leigh Ann Gobber with NBE Solutions is also finding that speed is important to their clients when it comes to technology. “Right now, mobile devices are in the forefront of our customer’s minds,” she says. “We’ve been able to deploy Ipads, Ipods and other types of mobile devices as a means of taking orders and sending orders. The speed is remarkable, which allows servers the opportunity to stay with the customer longer, get information to the prep areas faster, and food/beverages to the customers sooner. All of this speed, and a 75% reduction in replacement cost, is an affordable way for our customers to get the mobile technology they have wanted at an incredible cost savings.”
At Headsetters, a full-service headset provider, technology is their business and they have to stay on top of any changes in the communications industry as it enhances their business when they can bring new products to their customers. Chelley Baack with Headsetters says, “We are using and selling all of the new wireless/Bluetooth technology that keeps us and our customers in touch with their business at all times.”
New technology is imperative to web design as well. “We use Adobe’s Creative Suite package,” says Justin Henriksen of Nouvo Design. “Its new technologies and advancements in the mobile area help us test design elements, make changes and uncover possible issues that could prevent someone from achieving their end goal of reaching their users, mainly on their smartphones. We also use our technology, such as smartphones and tablets, to make business better. We track and analyze data to predict trends and help our clients see where they’re hitting a campaign directly on the head or missing the mark. Without such tracking and testing technologies, we would only be guessing to what extent design is really helping their cause and better yet, their bottom line.”
Businesses that rely on technology are always on the lookout for the next thing coming down the line and constantly have an eye on technology that is going to be important in the future. “U.S. Cellular continues to roll out its 4G LTE network,” explains Sarah Stumpf. “Currently, 31 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds and 58 percent will have access by the end of 2012. In the future, we plan to add 4G LTE speeds in Nebraska.”
Zach Dice with Dice Communications adds, “We are excited about OpenTouch, another Alcatel-Lucent product that delivers advanced communications that help you interconnect your network, people, processes and knowledge for cost control. Where it really changes the game is its unprecedented level of openness (SIP, applications, platforms).”
All of the new technology that will be available in the future can be a bit overwhelming, as Justin with Nouvo Design explains.
“Realistically, we cannot focus on all the new technologies that we see trending. Instead, we focus on a couple main technologies we see for the future of the web. Mobile devices and how they will change is one. Mobile telecommunication devices are more powerful than computers 15 years ago. With that said, we see the power of the mobile phone becoming a larger player in search engine optimization and e-commerce buy-in. People are more comfortable shopping for items on their smartphones than ever before. In fact, it’s said that 50% of all local searches for products and services are done on a smartphone. That’s growing at an exponential rate. By 2016, there could be as much as 80% of all searches for your company services on smartphones. That means the paired technology of mobile website readiness is at its highest need right now.”
Technology is a reality and even those who are uncomfortable with as well as those already thrive on it will need to adapt to keep up with the times. Whether you are a business owner who needs to incorporate your industry’s technology or you provide technology solutions to your own clients, keeping up on what’s new and how it can improve customer service and overall bottom line is key.
“Our customers need to find ways they can leverage new technology in their hospitality business to have better, faster service that creates bigger bottom line profits,” states Leigh Ann Gobber with NBE Solutions. “As emerging technologies surface, our company has been able to market them to our customers and implement and train them on how to use them—and for way less money than how we were able to do it a year ago.”
“We have noticed that companies are finally starting to see IT as a way to increase their profits rather than it being an expense,” adds Zach with Dice Communications. “At the same time, more and more companies are seeking out hosted solutions making their IT an operating expense instead of a capital expense.”
Justin Henriksen with Nouvo Design has this advice for business owners when it comes to technology: “The web as we know it right now is fairly conquered. Mobile website design is an infant, comparatively. However, customers have come to expect your site to be ready for their mobile device. Make sure you don’t disappoint them with a company website that is only a scaled down version of your desktop site. Have it optimized to look like it belongs on the devices it’s being viewed on. Your customers will thank you with their loyalty.”
No matter what type of business you are in, you should be keeping up on technology and how it can improve your business and the experience of your clients. This could apply to the products or services you are offering your clients or it could apply to the way you run your own business to provide an easier, safer, more pleasant shopping experience for your customers. Chelley Baack of Headsetters sums up the importance of technology by saying, “Technology is a constantly changing entity and if your business doesn’t stay on top of the latest developments, it will suffer.”