Smartphones in 2018 are designed for and are capable of accomplishing the astounding. Proper utilisation of these pocket rockets through a few choice apps can improve productivity, both in the personal and professional spheres.
--BY SARTHAK RAJ BARAL
When Martin Cooper conceived the original cell phone in 1973, he permanently transformed the way humans communicate. In the 45 years since, Cooper’s now-quaint invention has morphed into an apparatus capable of the extraordinary - a smartphone.
In 2017, 1.54 billion smartphones were sold across the globe. Furthermore, 32 percent of the world’s population owned a smartphone in 2017, a figure that is envisaged to escalate to 37 percent by 2020. The extensive proliferation of smartphones not only improves connectivity in a macro sense but also gives individuals with a virtually endless reservoir of information and a powerful multipurpose tool.
The sum of all human knowledge, stretching back to many millennia, resting in a miniature metal and plastic box tucked in your trouser pocket, smartphones are a marvellous achievement. Yet their complete potential remains unexplored by most users. These pocket PCs are of considerable benefit to people from all occupations, including businesspersons and entrepreneurs. Their optimum utilisation will boost productivity further; apps tailored to enhance efficiency are yet another way to gain an advantage.
Here are five productivity apps for entrepreneurs and professionals:
An acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge,” Slack is a set of team collaboration and communication tools. The app, available for both Android and iOS devices, facilitates conversations across various chat rooms, referred to as channels, which can be organised by topic. It also allows users to partake in private groups or private messaging. One of Slack’s standout features is its vast integration capability, allowing for numerous third-party services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, GitHub, Zapier and Trello, among others.
Considering establishing a functional channel of communication is an essential criterion for success, Slack is a critical app for businesses, irrespective of their size or scope. Slack is a free app, but it has paid upgrades with certain added benefits such as group video calls.
Ideas are a fickle beast. They come and go at their own inclination. A reliable and easy to use note-taking app is an imperative tool to have in your arsenal. With its myriad features, Evernote is one of the best when it comes to note-taking. Notes can be a piece of formatted text, a web page, a photograph, a voice memo, or even a handwritten note for smartphones that offer that capability. Along with the ability to combine file attachments to notes, they can also be tagged, annotated, edited, searched, and exported. Evernote ensures “eureka” moments are not squandered. The app is free to download for both Android and iOS devices.
We live in a time where almost every service demands we register an account. Everything from ordering food online to requesting a test drive comes with the caveat of creating an account with a dedicated password.
A study by Microsoft research says, “The average user has 6.5 passwords, each of which is shared across 3.9 different sites. Each user has about 25 accounts that require passwords, and types an average of 8 passwords per day.”
That is a lot of accounts and passwords to keep track of; this is where LastPass comes into play. A personal password manager, the app frees users from the burden of remembering individual passwords. Instead, it stores all accounts and their corresponding passwords in a secure space, protected by an AES-256 encryption. The user only needs to remember the master password to access their accounts.
LastPass, much like Slack, is a ‘freemium’ app, wherein users can utilise the base services of the app free of charge but there are additional features hidden behind a paywall. The app is free on Android and iOS devices and the premium version costs US Dollars 24 annually.
Microsoft PowerPoint remains the world’s foremost presentation software, much to Apple’s chagrin. The service has over 500 million users and a whopping 35 million presentations are given each day.
While most of those presentations are prepared on a PC or Laptop, the PowerPoint app for Android and iOS is highly capable and extremely useful for scenarios where one might not have access to a computer or when one is running short on time.
Furthermore, besides developing presentations, the app allows users to view and edit existing presentations as well. Given the app can be acquired free of charge, it is an undeniable must-have for professionals.
The ever-popular health tracker, acquired by Under Armour in 2015, is an essential app for both the fitness savvy and the perpetually lazy. The app tracks the diet and exercise of its users and recommends a detailed calorific intake plan, determined by the goals set by the user.
The users can either manually input the various food items they consume or scan the barcode of the product; the app has a database of over five million different food products. The app is customised for third-party integration and the user’s data can easily be synchronised with other fitness devices such as a Fitbit or a smartwatch. MyFitnessPal is free to use and is available on both Android and iOS platforms.