While the pervasiveness of “smart phones” in the workplace continues to pose challenges for employers, these devices simultaneously present opportunities for businesses and their employees to expand their networking potential and harness valuable efficiency tools. Chief among these tools are mobile applications – “apps,” for short – which can be instantly downloaded (some, free of charge, and others, for a modest fee). This edition of Now You Know It highlights six popular business-related mobile apps:
LinkedIn – Did you know that the popular social networking website for businesses can be accessed via a convenient mobile phone app? Among other features, this app enables users to send and accept connection invitations, read and send “in app” email messages, review and edit personal profiles, and access a personal “newsfeed” homepage.
Dropbox – An app that serves as a virtual folder in which files can be “dragged and dropped” for future use and reference. Files can be made available for viewing or editing “offline” and can be shared between devices.
Evernote – An app enabling users to create and access personal notes across linked devices. The app allows users to add color sketches within notes and to copy and paste content from the web for later reference.
Keynote – An Apple-created app enabling users to create and share slideshow presentations. This app is preloaded on newer iPhones. The app allows the iPhone to serve as a remote control to present slideshows on a Mac, iPad or iPhone.
Numbers – Another Apple-created app preloaded on newer iPhones, Numbers enables users to convert data into visually appealing charts, graphs and spreadsheets. Numbers is “Microsoft Excel friendly,” allowing Excel spreadsheets to be imported or edited within the app.
Whitepages – Advertised as the “largest and most trusted online directory with contact information for over 90% of U.S. adults,” the Whitepages app offers reverse phone number, address, and business searches. The app can also help users locate nearby stores.
Smart phones present exciting opportunities for businesses and individuals to engage, organize, create, edit, and communicate. While capitalizing on these benefits, employers must at the same time implement policies and controls to promote ongoing productivity and to protect against employees spending an inordinate amount of time sending text messages, using Facebook or playing mobile games – rather than using their phones for business purposes. Similarly, employers must be mindful of the risk that proprietary or confidential data can migrate from company-owned (and controlled) platforms onto individuals’ phones.