While much attention is given to the coolest personal apps, the rise of business apps is a trend that cannot be overlooked. The number of smartphones and mobile technology in businesses of all sizes has exploded in the last few years with apps that help you do your job and run your business better.
According to statista.com, in September 2015, business apps were the second-most popular app category, with more than 100 billion apps downloaded from the App Store. Gaming apps are the most popular category, generating more than $1 million per day. Other high-revenue producing apps include e-commerce, advertising, contracts and subscriptions. Travel and lifestyle apps saw the largest growth. Medical and navigation apps have the least use.
Many larger businesses and corporations have their own apps for employees and customers. Smaller businesses tend to utilize apps developed by other sources that are available for free or at a low cost.
Based out of Flagstaff, Alice Ferris, with GoalBusters Consulting, is on the road – or a plane – more days than she is home. Ferris specializes in working with non-profit organizations in the areas of fundraising, development management and strategic planning. She relies on Internet-based apps and technology for organization, project management, financial projections and more. Ferris recommends MeetMe, a calendar app that allows people to schedule appointments and contact her, to anyone who has a busy calendar. One of the best features is the app automatically alerts senders if there is a conflict so they can choose another time.
Frank Esquibel, owner of Coconino County Security Systems, says he uses several apps, including Swann View Link, Q-See QT View, Amcrest Link and, of course, his Samsung smart camera. These apps allow Esquibel’s customers to keep an eye, in real-time, on their home and/or businesses on any device. The apps provide a link between the security system, cameras and the owner, as well as offers secure connections to DVRs, computers and more.
Vista Hospice uses HR Inflections app. It provides a way for staff members to record working hours and tasks. This is especially handy because most are seeing patients in the patients’ homes, which requires working long, random hours, often going from one patient’s home to another. Thus, clocking in at an office is not practical.
Molly Schulz, a financial advisor with Edward Jones, uses apps on her Apple Watch. She says most of her business apps come from the corporate level. However, the personal apps she uses are just as important. “When I get an email, my watch gives me a little tap to alert me. It is up to me whether or not I look at my watch or respond, or I can stay fully focused on the people I am talking with at the time. I can access my emails, phone messages, texts, calendars, etc., all from my watch.” Schulz says the wrist device also tracks her activity and steps, and reminds her every hour to get up from her desk and stretch or walk and drink some water.
New apps are seemingly popping up daily. Crowd Mic turns anyone’s smartphone into a microphone. The app is used at conferences and large group meetings so participants can be heard when speaking or asking questions: “Just speak into the phone, please.” Periscope is a live video-streaming platform. It allows you to video-record and broadcast to anywhere in the world, giving small businesses an easy way to communicate with customers in real time. (It can even be used for drunk drivers to broadcast themselves driving home, which recently led to the arrest of a woman in Lakeland, Florida.)
Whether you choose “to app or not to app,” the goal is to find and use the tools that streamline processes, provide great customer service and keep your business (and life) organized, productive and, of course, fun. FBN
By Starla Collins, FBN