We’ve talked about the collaboration requirements of both office-bound professionals and the folks working out in the field. While office-based collaboration is pretty straightforward, field collaboration is more unique and real-time oriented. Field-based collaboration needs can be understood like this: how many times have you seen something amazing or catastrophic and said “man, I wish I had my video camera out”. Now, imagine you’re on a construction site and there’s a serious accident. It would be even more important to have gotten that on camera, right? Unfortunately, it’s not realistic to walk around with a video recorder held out in front of you at all times. You’re a contractor, not a photographer. No problem…Looxcie to the rescue! Read More
If your business involves working with a group of people remotely in different locations/parts of the world on a regular basis, collaboration may be the one aspect that gives you the most issues. The back-and-forth emails are simply not “cutting the mustard”. So if you’re looking for a more uniform way to work with your group, the Flowr web-based collaboration service may give you the tools you need to effectively communicate with your team and keep everyone in sync.
Flowr is indeed web-based, so there is no need for you or your team to worry about system requirements (have network access, will travel). With Flowr, you can share files, exchange ideas, ask questions, post tasks and collaborate with your team in a private and secure network that you and up to four colleagues can use for free with 100mb of space. to work with.
Communications between team members show up in the main screen like wall posts on Facebook. Adding links, sharing files, and addressing message to particular members is reminiscent of how you handle these same tasks on other popular social networking sites. In other word
s, the learning curve is shallow if not non-existent. The updates are real-time, and you can add tags to updates for easy reference later. Additional features include:
- Team profiles/group directory
- Upcoming event tracking
- Custom Flowr themes
- Sharing rights to specify recipients
- Bookmarklet for easy sharing web content
- Built- in analytics
If you already depend on Google Apps for a huge chunk of your teams communications/organization, Flowr can integrate with your account the popular Google Calendar/Google Docs services so you can keep your scheduling and documents at home while using Flowr to organize it all.
Finally, Flowr offers an iOS and Android app, in addition to a mobile-friendly HTML5 site for access from all other mobile platforms to get your “collab on” while on the go.
Flowr is free for up to five members and 100mb of storage space, while the Premium plan is $60/month but adds up to 15 users, additional features, and priority support. So stop the uber-long and hard to search email threads and check out Flowr for your team collaboration needs.
Microsoft SharePoint is one of the giants in intranet file/content sharing, collaboration, and management. Moprise wants to get you from behind your desk and give you access to your SharePoint content no matter where you are.
Moprise, which I am assuming is a mash-up of “mobile” and “enterprise” (which would make perfect sense) is a mobile collaboration cloud-based solution that enables workgroups and enterprise users to securely access, share, and collaborate on any SharePoint business content from their mobile device.
Moprise can take what your company or group already does:
– social networking
– group content creation and management
– presentation sharing, project management
– integrated voice and video
– calendaring, scheduling
…and adds value by giving it that “cloud” flavor that frees users from feeling left out if they are not at their desks. Speaking of freedom, Moprise also offers an iPad version, with Android currently in the works.
Moprise offers a free (‘Lite’ is what cool kids are calling it these days) version where you can just access content. Beefed up paid versions with more options and more users start at $5 bucks a month. The iPhone and iPad apps are a free download from the iTunes App Store.
The ability for users to access, edit, and share QUICKLY in order to make fast and confident business decisions while on the go is what Moprise wants to capitalize on. Try it out and let us know what you think in the comments section.
There are SO many task managers out there, so I am not suggesting that you ditch whatever app, service, or method you use to keep you and/or your team’s tasks organized because I think this service is the holy grail of task managers. But you should be on the lookout for any tips, tricks, or apps that can improve your organization and productivity (that’s why we are here).
So I feel it’s necessary that I hip you to Producteev, the cool web service/mobile app that does a good job of managing your tasks, and really shines when managing the tasks of a group. Surprisingly, I found this app not because I was looking for something to write about, but because I was looking for an app so my wife
could keep track of my “honey-do list” and I could stay on top of all of our tasks and keep them in one place.
Producteev is available via the web service or iPhone app and like the other tasks managers apps out there, you can add tasks, label them, give them due dates, assign them to others, et cetera. But that’s pretty much were the similarities end. Producteev’s claim to fame is that you can use most of the popular services, in addition to the web and mobile app to add and manage tasks:
– Instant Messenger
– Google Calendar
Back to me and my wife. We currently use BlackBerries BUT we also use Google Chat. So we can both send tasks to our family “workspace” and assign, label, and add deadlines to tasks, but we can also add notes and collaborate on tasks all through Google Chat. It all synchronizes with the web service, and via Google Chat, we can save our chat history, adding even another layer of our tasks and our conversations corresponding to those tasks.
That’s just one way to use Producteev to manage tasks. You can also send/receive emails, synchronize with Google Calendar and add widgets to Gmail and iGoogle to quickly manage tasks. Here are some top-level productivity features (if my example of my wife sending me a task to not forget to get diapers from the grocery store isn’t enough):
– Multiple Team Support via workspaces where you can assign privacy settings, add team members to different projects and keep it organized and synchronized all via one Producteev account.
– Filters and reports you can tweak to show accomplishments, team activity, etc.
– Daily/Weekly email digests of you tasks and activity straight to your inbox.
– Hot Task feature that uses
magic algorithms that can suggest what tasks to tackle next.
Producteev even has a little game called the “Academy” that turns tasks into a competition with badges and other rewards for banging out tasks.
Producteev is free for up to two users and includes forum support. From there, $5 bucks a month gets you more file storage space, email support, better security and the ability to brand your workspace with logos, and backgrounds. The high-end service ($30 bucks a month) gets you up to 1.5 GB of file storage, Phone support, and the ability to generate reports.
Tasks managers are nothing new, but Producteev does offer a new way to help you cross those tasks off your list regardless of how you choose to manage them. So check it out and drop me a line via the comments section to let me know what you think.
With more businesses looking to cut costs and employ workers from anywhere, video-conferencing is becoming more justifiable then ever before. Just take a look at the recent iPhone4 and you’ll notice that Apple has recognized how important it is to enable callers to be able to see each other. In business, non-verbal communication clues can be the absolute difference between closing or (without the”c”) losing the sale.
So if you are new to video-conferencing, here are 5 reasons why you should take a hard look at video-conferencing NOW:
1. Meet with clients and collaborate with internal staff more frequently! Face-time with customers and staff is critical but not always practical, so use video-conferencing to bridge the gap.
2. Demonstrate your thought-leadership skills and build your presence! Use it as a platform to deliver webinars and other thought-leadership activities, perfect for presentations and demos. Don’t translate that to mean it’s a place to sell, sell, sell!
3. Reduce travel costs! The next time you have a meeting out of the office, calculate all costs involved (gas mileage, parking & most importantly your time). It may shock you to see how much you are paying out in order to have an in-person meeting. Yes, I know it is best to meet in person when possible but do the calculations and see if it helps justify video-conferencing costs.
4. Reclaim your time! This is critical, every successful business owner will tell you that managing your time effectively is one of the most critical challenges to master if you intend to really maximize the impact of your business.
5. Video conferencing crushes a typical phone call! Phone calls are boring! Seriously, phone calls are boring and lack the non-verbal communication that can help tell you if your message is reaching its target appropriately.
Here’s a real-life example for you! Several weeks ago while preparing for a presentation about mobile apps and productivity I was introduced to the AT&T Connect conferencing app as a way of connecting and collaborating with several parties from different locations. I’ve used video-conferencing with other services like GoTo Meeting in the past, so I was certainly familiar with the platform but I don’t think back then that I really appreciated the productivity enhancements and the game-changing capabilities.
I was impressed with AT&T’s Connect service especially the mobile app which allowed me to join the conference, participate live, even view the whiteboard and other images that were being presented. To be on your mobile and interact with the conference as if I was at my desktop was really empowering!
If you aren’t sure if video-conferencing is for you take this trial for a spin and let me know what you think!