Smartphone applications continue to grow

There are approximately 98 million smartphones in use in the United States alone, according to Reston, Va.-based ComScore Inc. Eighty-nine percent of smartphone users use their phone on a daily basis.

The majority of smartphone users realize their devices can get them from point A to point B by acting as a GPS, and most also realize they can surf the web, check emails and update their social media accounts from their smartphone on the go.

Part of the appeal of smartphones is that you have constant access at your fingertips. But some people may not know everything these devices can do.

Did you know your smartphone has the capability of becoming a mobile credit card scanner? Or that you can use your smartphone to estimate the cost of a roof replacement? Or that you can use it to access up-to-date sales information from the field? Did you know you can sign and send a contract or host a video conference from your device?

Jeff Olsen, B2B sales manager for U.S. Cellular in Wisconsin says individuals expect a lot from their smartphone devices.

“Bottom line is efficiency,” Olsen said. “People want offices on the road. Our job is to help them achieve that efficiency effectively with the right devices.”

Smartphone usage has more than doubled in the past two years, and customers want larger displays and more functionality,” Olsen said.

“People are doing more with their smartphones and tablets,” he said. “They’re looking for efficiency in real time.”

Phil Gerbyshak, chief connections officer at the Milwaukee-based Make it Great Institute, values real time up-to-date information when it comes to his calendar. He uses Tungle.me for his calendar and scheduling.

“It allows me to share my calendar with people outside my organization,” Gerbyshak said. “No details, just my availability. I don’t have to go back and forth with my clients and prospects on meeting requests. Everyone can see my calendar in action just by visiting http://tungle.me/philgerb. The best part is, the application works on any phone with browsing capabilities.”

Other phone applications allow for real time fleet management and tracking or sales force updates, Olsen said. FleetMatics Fleet Tracking and Management application allows users access to key information about a fleet from a smartphone.

“Real-time data provides full functionality and allows fleet managers to stay on top of each vehicle’s performance, compare it with benchmarks, receive alerts, investigate incidents in the field or send the nearest technician to an urgent job,” Olsen said.

The same is true for an application called Sales Force CRM, which allows users to build a customer database that includes leads, follow-up on leads and allows users to instantly access and update sales force information from the field.

“This allows a sales force to spend less time in the office and more time in the field selling,” Olsen said. “With the mobile application they are able to look up account activity before important calls and meetings and even respond immediately to customer requests and feedback.”

Carol Voss, public relations and marketing director for Milwaukee-based IndependenceFirst is an iPhone and an iPad user. She uses the “Cardmunch” application on her device to snap photos of business cards she receives.

“The app alphabetizes them and automatically connects them with their LinkedIn profiles,” she said. “I can choose to invite to connect that way or just have all those loose business cards in my phone in one place.”

Andy Schlingman, associate director of strategic accounts for Verizon Wireless uses a Motorola Razr 4G LTE smartphone. His favorite application is Evernote, which allows him to take notes, pictures, and voice recordings and create to-do lists that he can pull up on any device or computer with the Evernote application.

“I am also able to email and share information with other members of my team,” he said.

Skitch, another application by the same developer as Evernote, is also one of his favorites.

“With Skitch I am able to take pictures of whiteboard presentations or anything else, and annotate the presentation or pictures with arrows, shapes and texts. This allows me to highlight the items I want my team to focus on and/or change,” Schlingman said.

The craving for more and more efficiency and accessibility of smartphone devices is going to continue to grow, Olsen said.

“I’ve been in business a while and over the last two years things have grown by leaps and bounds,” he said. “These devices are only going to continue to increase in popularity. Thankfully, there are a lot of talented application developers out there who will continue to constantly push the envelope to give consumers more, to make their devices do more. It’s what people want.” n

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