After two decades of widespread internet use, a second wave of activity is taking over from the fixed PC model – mobile computing.
It may still have the word “phone” lingering in the name, but most people would acknowledge that the smartphone now spends only a fraction of its time behaving like a phone. The rest of the time, it’s receiving emails and texts, surfing the net, logging in to Skype conferences, reminding us of meetings – in short, it’s behaving just like a PC. Save for one important point – it’s mobile.
In 2014, mobile phones overtook PCs in terms of internet access. While you might think that this has little impact – it’s still the same content, right? – there are significant differences in the way content displays on a computer screen and a mobile.
Here we take a look at those differences, and why it’s important for your business to “think mobile” not only in terms of website content, but also when it comes to doing business outside the office.
Why Google’s new search method favours mobiles
Confirmation that smartphones are overtaking computers came earlier this year when Google announced that its new search algorithm – the program that drives its search engine – would now be giving precedence to sites optimised for mobile. This means websites that avoid non-mobile friendly software (e.g. Flash), and have larger text, bigger images and links that can be easily activated by touch. “Mobilegeddon” spread panic through businesses that hurried to bring their websites into the mobile era. Chances are you’re being left behind your competitors if your site isn’t optimised for mobile.
How mobile phones made the world turn faster
The ability to speak with someone no matter whether they are close to a landline or not has revolutionised the way we communicate. But it has also raised expectations for how quickly we want things done. Not being in the office is no longer a valid excuse for not replying to an email or filing a report. The smartphone has made the world turn faster, and you risk being left behind if you and your staff aren’t using them for everyday business operations.
The key to mobile communication in business
Email, Skype, Instant Messenger, Facebook, Twitter – the number of online ways that we communicate has grown exponentially since 1995 when email was the only choice. All of these can be accessed via smartphone apps, but there’s another way to stay connected.
Businesses still use faxes for contracts and instances where a hard copy of a document needs to be transmitted. But many businesses are now opting to use virtual fax. With a provider like eFax, it’s possible to send a fax from a PC when you’re in the office, and go mobile and send from anywhere with a smartphone app through the same service.
By subscribing to a virtual fax number, businesses can treat their email client as if it were a fax machine. Documents are attached to an email which is addressed to the recipient’s fax number followed by ‘@efaxsend.com’. The documents are converted into regular faxes at the other end. You can even add a cover sheet, and a copy of the fax is stored online for further access. When receiving, the service converts the fax to email.
Nielsen research found 76% of mobile phone users use the device to locate a store. Mobile accessibility isn’t just a bonus, it’s now the main game when it comes to consumer shopping. Mobile is also changing the way business is conducted and allows you to take the office with you where ever you go. So if your business hasn’t gone mobile yet, it’s time to make some changes.