Mobile Management Goes Hands Free – It’s the Law

Bluetooth for Hands Free WirelessMobile management is a mandatory part of any company that puts employees on the road. This goes beyond wireless cost reduction into the basics of day to day operations, including how and when staff make wireless calls in the field. Across Canada, these businesses need to wake up to a new requirement: hands free calling. Last year, PEI, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia all enacted laws against hands on wireless calls while driving. Here at GILL Technologies, we handle upgrades and procurements for clients through our ClientCare service. We pursue bulk orders through select suppliers to get the best prices on new hardware such as Bluetooth sets, but more importantly we know how to make the hardware fit with your phones, and whether you’ll need additional services (such as voice activation) to build a seamless solution.

We also provide carrier liaison and technical support to make the transition as easy as possible. If you need upgrades to comply with the new rules, contact usand don’t wait. The Saskatchewan and BC bans went into effect on January 1st, 2010 the PEI ban hit on January 23rd, and Ontario’s legislation went into full effect this week. A growing awareness of the way hands-on wireless habits affect roads safety makes it likely that the ban will eventually turn universal. Many US states are also likely to adopt stringent regulations, or reinterpret existing rules to clamp down on hands on mobile use. If your workforce is on the road it’s time for you to invest in Bluetooth headsets and other tools to allow legal, hands free calling. While jurisdictions may apply new rules in various ways, we recommend going with a totally hands free calling solution that includes a combination of Bluetooth and voice activated features. Some hardware now allows for hands free text and email, with a device reading these items to you. No matter the exact requirements, the important thing is to remember that these new regulations exist for a reason: Studies have shown that driving while distracted by a phone call (and believe it or not, texting, email and smartphone use, as some foolhardy drivers actually access these on the road) is equivalent to driving while moderately to severely impaired by alcohol. In other words, if you’re using your hands, you’re as dangerous as a drunk driver. Going hands free is the legal, responsible choice – and it’s important to avoid liability in case one of your employees has an accident on the road. If a staff member gets caught with a company phone, no headset and evidence that he or she was in the middle of a hands on call . . . well, to say that’s bad for you would be an understatement.

Mobile Management in 2010

Mobile management is a swiftly evolving field, where effective solution providers need to stay aware of the latest business, technology and regulatory trends to offer the very best services. At GILL Technologies we need to do a little more than just pay attention to products and billing, however, because we also offer technical and service support through our ClientCare program, where people like Amy and Tara help clients with everything from setting up a new mobile phone to migrating entire fleets to new carriers.

Now that 2010 is here and CES has come and gone, it’s time to talk about some of the new trends that will affect mobile management this year. Some of these developments promise to save money – and others represent new costs to control.

Android Phones: An explosion in wireless powered by Google’s Android OS has brought an explosion of choice into the cell phone market, as well as a powerful mobile management opportunity on the procurement front. Blackberry may still be the best for certain business functions but it and the iPhone aren’t the only practical choices any more. Key phones to watch include Motorola’s Droid (known as the Milestone in Canada) and the Google/HTC Nexus One. Beyond these there are dozens of new phones in all price ranges – and you may need professional mobile management to find the right one for you.

Carrier Competition: GILL Technologies provides mobile management solutions in both the US and Canada, so we took careful note when the government decided to permit WIND Mobile to operate in Canada. WIND’s bringing genuine competition to a market that’s been dominated by the “big three” of Bell, Rogers and Telus. WIND has thrown down the gauntlet with significantly cheaper wireless internet and competitive voice packages – but as of January 2010 it still doesn’t have a significant network outside of Toronto and Calgary. Competition is heating up in the US as well with the highly publicized advertising war between AT&T and Verizon over who really has the best 3G network.

Carrier-Subsidized Computers: Now that virtually every carrier offers mobile Internet, many have taken the next step and begun to subsidize netbooks and laptops with the purchase of a wireless Internet contract. This development will prove to be especially important this year as several companies release new devices designed specifically for this purpose. This includes the rumoured Apple iSlate tablet and several other computers with the tablet form factor. From a mobile expense management perspective, the challenge will be to help clients identify what they need out of these devices before finding ne that best fits the profile.

4G Internet: In Canada, Bell and Telus are cooperating to offer fourth generation (4G) mobile broadband. In the US, Verizon and Sprint have just begun to offer it in selected cities. From a mobile management perspective, the question is whether signing on for a 4G plan early meets a genuine business need, and whether competing carriers are offering a reliable, cost-effective service.

We’re looking forward to these challenges and opportunities in the year ahead. If you’d like to find out how we can help you with them from a mobile management perspective, Contact us.

How to decide between a new Blackberry and the iPhone for your Business

This is a great question, especially with the growing popularity of the iPhone (even among enterprise) and the current market captured by the Blackberry. There are a couple of things to consider when making this important decision, whether you’re jumping ship or a newbie to the smart phone arena. I’ve divided the comparison into two categories, first functionality,
and second cost, certainly not in any order of importance as there is weight for both. But before we look at these two comparisons, why is it such an important decision? Well simply put, your phone has become a critical part of how you do business. With the added capabilities and features coming into play it is becoming even more important all the time.

Functionality:

So with functionality becoming increasingly important, this is where BlackBerry tends to be playing catch-up. Try a Google search on the two devices searching for applications and you quickly see a major short fall on BlackBerry. I find as a BlackBerry user myself looking to the iPhone or an Android as a potential solution to maximizing efficiency. That after all is what the functionality is for. To make my life more efficient, provide better service and give me more time to focus on other things. So as I dive into the applications on the BlackBerry to increase efficiency I am continuously

apple-iphone

running into brick walls. For example through my Google account I want to be able to access and sync my Gmail account. At best the Google application has many limitations. First syncing is not a true sync, such as draft emails don’t appear on my desktop until sent. The calendar function on the device is rudimentary at best. The ability to add a simple appointment for a specific time with details is impossible to date. Other functionalities such as Twitter applications put the device into cardiac arrest. Now with all this being said I am not looking for a device to tell me what tip I should leave, this I can handle. I’m speaking of everyday functions that keep me connected with my team, my customers, and on task. Unless I stay focused in my exchange environment (which is losing its attraction all the time) BlackBerry is losing its appeal.

Cost:

Once we get by the sticker shock of the hardware pricing – realizing these devices are so much more than just a phone – these devices are going to give me back time and efficiency, then we have the cost of operation to consider. This is where we see a big difference through our telecom cost audit and mobile management services on Tele-Watch. There is no doubt that these same wonderful applications that are increasing efficiencies are also driving up data costs to the carrier and soon if not already to the end clients. The iPhone in techy terms – is a pig – that’s a technical term. Now with talk of carriers taking away unlimited data in the US, and none really available (when you read the fine print) in Canada, this is a major concern. With BlackBerry costs fairly fixed and their data usage light, I at least know my costs and they are consistent.

With BlackBerry racing to catch up on applications, I will hold temporarily and see if the applications I need to be more efficient evolve soon. I hope this is not a wish unanswered.

Where do you stand on the iPhone and BlackBerry battle and has it worked out for you?