As frequent business travelers know, it's vital to stay productive while on the road. Mobile as modern careers have become, it's no wonder professionals are constantly looking for better ways to stay connected, both with the home office, and their own homes. Luckily, a growing number of apps, mobile devices, online services and cloud computing tools make it easier to get work done virtually anytime, anywhere. An increasing number of communications and sharing solutions are also making it steadily more cost-affordable to connect, collaborate, and keep in touch with others on both the personal and professional fronts wherever you travel. Following are several of the most promising new high- and low-tech options for road warriors looking to stay up to date with colleagues, family and friends, stay on top of changing priorities, and stay productive from any locale.
Online Collaboration and Sharing Tools
Cloud computing tools (online solutions accessible from nearly any Internet-connected device) make it easy to get more done, work together in real-time, and keep files and data synchronized between devices. Online office suite services such as Google Docs and Zoho make it easy for coworkers to collaborate on projects, while a variety of storage solutions such as those provided by Dropbox, Box, and Amazon allow anyone to save files remotely and retrieve them nearly anytime, anywhere. Solutions like those SnapOne offers also go a step further, making it easy to share contacts, calendars, and personal information in addition to data with a private network of users (e.g. family members), helping everyone stay on the same page. Using tools such as these, most of which are fully accessible from mobile apps and Web browsers as well as desktop computers -you can synchronize data across multiple devices, team up to tackle projects in real-time, and retrieve files virtually any time you have an Internet connection.
Messaging and Communications Services
It's easy to conduct client meetings, catch up with colleagues, and enjoy more face-to-face time with friends and family by using videoconferencing services like Skype, Tango, FaceTime, and ooVoo. Using these solutions, many of which make it completely free to place voice or video calls from PCs, smartphones and tablets - it's possible to stay in touch, get more done, and even save on travel. (You'd be amazed how many meetings or press tours can now be conducted using Google+ Hangouts.) Don't forget to tap into the power of an increasing variety of instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, Trillian and Kik as well. Many let you send text messages for free, share photos and videos, and quickly keep colleagues, friends and family up to date on the latest happenings from virtually any mobile device. They're especially useful for firing off quick notes between appointments, and tracking down errant coworkers at tradeshows.
Mobile Accessories and Add-Ons
Naturally, mobile devices are key to staying productive and staying connected while on the road. But they don't always offer maximum convenience or battery life. To solve the former problem, try adding accessories such as a Bluetooth keyboard, microphone, or case that doubles as a viewing stand for added comfort. To solve the latter, try using rechargeable cases such as those Mophie and Powermat offer, or solar or USB power recharging solutions, as well. These helpful lifesavers can completely refill or provide an added energy boost to a variety of devices ranging from cell phones to tablets and digital cameras. Likewise, high-speed cellular providers such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon frequently offer mobile wireless hotspot solutions as an optional add-on. Using these gadgets, you can turn your wireless connection into a portable WiFi hotspot that several devices can connect with to access the Internet on-demand.
Backups, Plug-Ins and Sharing Solutions
Using cloud computing services such as Carbonite and IDrive, it's possible to automatically backup and store data remotely, so files can easily be restored in the event of data corruption, accidental deletion, and loss or theft. But on a low-tech front, you can also ensure maximum productivity by being smart about where you stay on the road. A number of new hotel chains such as Hyatt Place are now specially designed to provide free top-speed WiFi, a plethora of USB charging ports, wireless printing, and similar services to travelers by default, so you're never without the necessary tools to get work done. Of course, it's not just about working in solitude either. As you go about your travels, also make a point to tap into the power of social media services (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and blogging solutions (WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, etc.) as well. Using them, you can easily capture and share photos, videos, interviews and other helpful multimedia assets, all of which can come in handy when you're looking to promote a product or service, provide updates from the field, or simply show friends and coworkers what's been on your itinerary as of late.