If you’re a seasoned business traveller, then you’ll know how different things were 20 years ago. There were no helpful apps you could use to receive real-time, live flight information or handy gadgets that would enable you to stay productive during your long-haul flight. Everything was just as it was, no better or no worse. Of course, we didn’t know any better then. Fast forward to 2016 and there’s an overflowing app store and shelves full of nifty gizmos that are designed with business travel in mind. We thought, in the build up to the Festive Season, we’d continue with our Apps and Gadgets blog series – so without further ado, here’s Part 5. Click the icons to head straight to the relevent web pages for more information.
CircleBack – Maintaining productivity is critical for many of our business travellers and there’s nothing that’ll hinder that more than not having access to the people you need when you need them. It’s main use as a proprietary data engine is not actually, what we believe to be, it’s most valuable function. For many in sales and marketing functions, receiving real-time information on prospects will no doubt be incredibly handy as the app will automatically update contact information of a saved prospect as and when that individual changes them. In fact, it’s the ancillary functions that we think are beneficial for productivity on the move. It has a business card scanner in-built using your camera function so it’s perfect for capturing data from exhibitions and conferences. It’ll automatically pull the key information and store it safely for you to export when you’re back in the office, so never again will have to carry a stack of cards around with you or worry about losing those key contacts. Another important function is its email signature capture; automatically creating a ‘contact’ in your address book from an email, including job function, name, email address and direct line/mobile number. It’ll certainly save time having to search frantically through your inbox and sub-folders to find the number you need.
DocuSign – Used by over 250,000 companies in 188 countries, DocuSign is one of the best business apps available on the market that lets users send, sign and manage legally binding documents whilst on the move. With security in mind, it’s completely safe and managed from within ‘the cloud’, meeting the most rigorous security industry certification standards and using the strongest commercially available data encryption technologies available. In using DocuSign, it’s easy to add important documents, implement multi-factor authentication and digitally sign sealed forms, all whilst on the go.
Quest Visual – Google and Quest Visual have teamed up to provide travellers with a free text-translation service, which is super handy if you’re a frequent traveller to a particular destination or have offices abroad. It’ll enabled you to instantly translate foreign texts into your native language, ensuring there’s no miscommunications during your travels. It already supports most of the major European languages including English, Portuguese, German, Italian, Russian and French although some of the translations packages may need to be downloaded onto your device.
GeoSure – With a greater emphasis on Duty of Care and risk management, GeoSure is a great little app that’ll enable users to have access to trusted safety information from the likes of the United Nations, World Health Organisation, Interpol and other local authorities. Using a sophisticated analytical engine, it’ll offer information on everything from politics to health hazards, cyber concerns and geopolitical unrest and everything in between. It’s a must have if you’re a frequent traveller.
TomTom Spark Fitness Watch – It’s important to stay active and healthy whilst you’re on the move, as tricky as that might be sometimes. After a long day of travelling, jetlag and navigating your way around a new city, the last thing you’ll want to do is hit the gym or go for a run. Often it’s the little things you can do whilst out and about that’ll help you stay on the healthy road; eating the right food, staying hydrated and taking the stairs instead of the escalators. It might not seem like it’d make that much difference to you, but this watch will tell you otherwise! Using GPS and in-built heart monitoring, it’ll track every step you take and tell you how many calories your activities have burnt throughout the day, alongside how well you’ve been sleeping. Another handy little feature it has is music storage, enabling the user to sync using Bluetooth to wireless headphones – meaning you don’t need to take your smartphone out with you everywhere. It’s not a cheap investment, currently available on various online retail stores for anywhere between £150 – £200 – but if you’re looking to make lifestyle changes in 2017, it might be a good start.
Bluesmart Smart Suitcase – Dubbed as ‘the suitcase that has it all’, Bluesmart offers a suitcase that… well, has it all really, including a GPS tracker (never again will you worry about lost luggage) and built in charging ports (that apparently have enough capacity to charge a modern smartphone six times over). Controlled via the Bluesmart app, this luggage set is modern, functional and has plenty of space and pockets for all your necessities. Speaking of necessities, with a built-in scale, you can always be sure that you haven’t overpacked. Available from £250, Bluesmart marks the beginning of smart technology combining with practical, every day uses that are simply designed to make life a little easier for someone on the go.
Smart Padlocks – If you’re looking for something a little less high-tech, then take a look at the various smart padlocks available on the market. Using Bluetooth that can be controlled by an app on your smartphone, you’ll never have to worry about storing your precious items safely or having to remember to take care of padlock keys whilst you’re travelling. It’s a cost-effective means of safely storing your goods.
Solar Powered Battery Banks – Battery banks are one of the most useful gadgets available to travellers, and we couldn’t recommend them enough. Their one and only downfall is that, at some point, they too need charging from a mains point. Thankfully, there are a number of tech-savvy startups that have recently launched various solar (and mains) powered battery banks, all of which are just as compact and light as their counterparts. They’re fairly new to the commercial market to shop around or wait for further developments in the field – either way, definitely a product with enormous potential and worth keeping an eye on. Or, for that extra bit of juice, check out battery phone cases – they’re smart, slim and often carry up to an additional 120% battery for your smartphone.