As many business owners have discovered in recent years, mobile technology has dramatically changed and, in many ways, improved the way they work. Whether they enhance productivity, schedule meetings or simply keep you organized, apps specifically designed for business can help you accomplish more than ever this year. If you're looking for a new tech tool to boost your business operations in 2014, try one of these five unique mobile apps.
As a small retail business, it can be difficult to compete with national retailers when it comes to gift registries for weddings, baby showers and other events. MyRegistry.com, a leading universal gift registry site, has already helped couples and individuals create custom registries with items from around the Web. Last month, the company announced the launch of its new iOS app, Kiosk, a tablet-based tool that allows merchants to create their own in-store gift registries integrated with customers' smartphones.
"The existing gift registry model that is currently in place for merchants can be very limiting and costly," said Nancy Lee, president of MyRegistry.com. "Our new Kiosk app provides retailers with a useful and affordable gift registry system that will help boost sales while reaching a new demographic." [6 Mobile Apps Changing Shopping Forever]
Do you or your employees have a long commute, or frequently travel by car for work? MetroMile, a beta iOS app released this year, can save you time and money by calculating and transmitting driving data to an online dashboard, and generating time and cost-effective recommendations and services.
These insights are incredibly beneficial for businesses whose employees spend a great deal of time on the road," said MetroMile CEO Steve Pretre. "Drivers can easily determine how to optimize their regular routes to avoid traffic, improve fuel efficiency and get the exact cost of gas for each trip. They can diagnose the car's check engine light and find their car no matter where they parked it. Just as it does for everyday consumers, MetroMile enables businesses and their employees to drive smarter and save."
If your business is looking to hire in the new year, you may want to consider optimizing your job application process for mobile access. Recent hiring trends indicate that more and more employees want the ability to apply for jobs through their mobile devices, and if your company doesn't offer that option, you may be missing out on some high-quality candidates.
The creators of MoBolt wanted to build an advanced mobile recruiting technology platform to optimize the user experience for all applicants, regardless of the type of device they're using. This app makes it simple to set up a mobile-friendly job application page that works with all existing applicant tracking systems.
Do you have an old smartphone or tablet collecting dust in a closet somewhere? With Presence, a mobile app by software company People Power, you can turn that device into a low-cost office security system. Launched in April 2013, the Presence app transforms your old device's camera into a Wi-Fi-powered remote monitoring system that transmits data and video feed to your current smartphone.
"Many small businesses are choosing Presence as a security system for their office," said David Moss, co-founder and chief technology officer of People Power. "With traditional security cameras, if something happens, you have to go in and review footage — you don't find out what happened until after you get there. Presence features motion detection and video recording that will send a real-time video to your phone if there's an incident."
In addition to providing a virtually free security camera, Presence supports energy management capabilities, so you can turn your office thermostat, appliances and lights on and off remotely.
Roambi, a cloud-based analytics and business access app, has already helped small and large firms in a wide range of industries stay connected, organized and productive with its data visualization and sharing capabilities. On Dec. 18, the company announced the launch of its new app, Roambi Flow, a tool designed to help businesses create engaging, interactive publications to provide context to data and "tell the story behind the numbers." The app combines multitouch navigation with rich interactive media from Roambi Analytics, YouTube, Vimeo, embedded videos and more, to create a fully immersive experience.
"Roambi Flow draws on the power of big data, injects engaging visualizations and context to enable our customers to not only find their needles in the haystack, but share their discoveries in an entirely new way," said Quinton Alsbury, co-founder and president of product innovation for Roambi. "Flow lets you take information from anywhere and turn it into an immersive iPad experience, essentially turning anyone into a publishing powerhouse."
BONUS: Social App Map
While this comprehensive Web tool isn't a mobile app in itself, it can help you find the perfect app for your company's social and customer relationship management (CRM) needs. Created by CRM software consulting firm Software Advice, the Social App Map allows you to filter your search from dozens of social business apps based on the features you're looking for. For each app, you can view pricing, target customer size and unique features, as well as a brief overview of how it works.
"Buyers often have a difficult time understanding not only what social business capabilities are offered and who offers them, but what they actually do," said Ashley Verrill, CRM analyst at Software Advice. "As a result, they end up not taking advantage of the technology and missing out on opportunities to be proactive or personal with leads and customers. The Social App Map presents different types of features offered in each app, such as listening, monitoring and analysis, allowing businesses to identify the right application for their needs."
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.