10 Oct 2012

Productivity apps that will make your work life easier

Clever mobile apps that keep you productive on the go There are many apps that enable you to give functionality to your workforce via their existing Windows, iOS and Android devices, and let them do their day jobs more effectively. Here are two of my top productivity apps: Robin for Android Robin is an intelligent voice assistant for drivers. It can narrate emails, SMS messages and even tweets and Facebook posts, as well as give navigation advice, including directions and traffic alerts. Robin is both voice and gesture activated: you can start it by just waving your hand over your phone. I do a lot of driving for work, both for my daily commute and for visiting customers and suppliers, and Robin really improves efficiency. Working in the unified communications environment means I use a large amount of SMS and email through my mobile. With Robin I can send an SMS just by talking to my phone, and it will read new messages out to me. Being able to get directions is also brilliant: I can just tell it what road and suburb I want, and it nearly always gives me the correct route. Robin is already an excellent app, and it’s still being actively developed, so will only improve as it grows. SkyDrivefor Windows Phone, iOS, Android SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud-based file hosting service, part of its Windows Live range, that offers 7GB of free storage to new users. It allows you to upload and sync files to cloud storage, and then access them through a web browser or mobile device. Publicly shared files do not require a Microsoft account to access. Features include integration with Office Web Apps and Microsoft Office (which can save files directly to SkyDrive), Outlook.com integration, social sharing, Bing integration, photo slideshows, a recycle bin, and you can also download entire folders as a single .zip file. SkyDrive is very simple but extremely useful. I run six different devices, including Windows, iOS and Android, and I’m always looking at how I can unify between them. Even the free 7GB is enough to upload all my documents, including video if required, and then I can access them from anywhere. I’ve had meetings with customers and suppliers where I need to demonstrate something to them, and I can just log into Windows Live on their computer and download the file or presentation. SkyDrive also syncs with your desktop so you have offline access as well. Many people still haven’t grasped the benefits of it: they’re still loading information onto their hard drives and then onto their mobile devices. But I think SkyDrive is a cracking app from a productivity perspective: you can access your files from any computer, anywhere, at any time. What are your top apps for work and play? We’d love to feature them in The Voice. Let us know what keeps you productive while on the move! Geoff Croshaw is Brennan IT’s Unified Communications and Mobility Practice Manager