The Efficiency of Traveling with Smart Phones
Among the many communication features included with smart phones, there are three that prove useful to business travelers, such as email, texting, and Skype. It provides easy access to email messages without the need to access a computer or Internet connection. From a smart phone one can send and receive email messages while traveling. This eliminates delayed responses while maintaining the professionalism of the email format. Email is a vital tool used in conducting business and having this tool available will make a business traveler's trip more efficient and productive.
Texting has become a common method of communication. Although it is a more casual method of communication the advantage of instant notifications is valuable to business travelers. The discreetness of text conversations is also useful when traveling on public transportation. Receiving text messages is helpful when the information needs to be saved. Instead of writing it down while on a phone call a text message is sent to the phone and saved until needed.
Skype has taken modern communication to the next level and smart phones have utilized this method by making it available as a downloadable application. This allows two people to talk to each other using video conferencing. It is a valuable method for professionals to provide a visual element to business meetings while traveling. Email, texting, and Skype are beneficial methods of communication offered by smart phones. Everett (2002) stated “Individuals need to eagerly embrace the new technologies and revamp the way they communicate.”
Business travelers need organizational tools to enhance their productivity and smart phones provide these tools, such as GPS navigation, electronic calendars, and stored contacts. Travelers often visit places they are not familiar with and the risk of getting lost in a strange city can be costly to a business traveler. Navigation provides directions using GPS technology, which can save time. This technology also allows the user to choose different routes to reach a destination if alternate routes are unusable to due traffic or weather conditions. Having GPS capability eliminates the need to carry two devices (Consumer Reports Buying Guide, 2009).
Last minute appointments and meetings are a common part of a busy professional’s life. Having easy access to a calendar allows one to schedule new appointments on the spot and refer to it as a guide or itinerary during a business trip. Smartphone calendars also have an alarm feature that will sound when an appointment is near. This serves as a reminder in case specific preparations are needed before that appointment giving the consumer time to prepare. Paper calendars typically project the current, but smart phone calendars can provide access to the following year's date as well. Some professions require scheduling years in advance.
All cell phones have the ability to store contacts, but smart phones have the ability to store more than names and phone numbers. It is important to have as much information as possible when storing contacts, especially business contacts. Smart phones allow the storage of names, phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, title, company, and even a picture of the person. It eliminates the need to carry an address book. It is like bringing the office filing cabinet on the road.
Although business travelers are focused on getting work done, there is always room for games, music, and movies while traveling. Network World (2008) stated “A survey of 200 cell phone users showed that 46% are using their devices for entertainment purposes.” Traveling takes one away from the comforts of home. Entertainment is a comfort of home that can be mobile making traveling easier. The dreaded plane ride and frustration of sitting for hours until one reaches a destination can be less frustrating with a smart phone.
Games are a significant aspect of entertainment available on smart phones. Playing games can kill time and make a plane ride more enjoyable. Smart phones have many games available to download and most games are free. Some games allow consumers to play other people and compete against other players. Competitive gaming gives the user a social aspect to the game making more interesting and fun.
Consumers can also download music on a smart phone and organize a playlist. There are many popular music stores that sell music for a reasonable price. When buying a song from a smart phone it instantly downloads onto the phone. One can also upload music from a PC onto the phone. Users can gather their favorite CDs and transfer the music to their phone.
Most smart phones are also capable of streaming movies. The convenience of having movies at one’s fingertips is a development in technology any business traveler can appreciate. This is also an application available for download. For a small monthly fee, user can select movies and instantly stream them on a smart phone. Some smart phones offer HD capability providing a better movie experience.