When brokers find an app for that

The app market is constantly expanding. There are around 140,000 apps available for iPads through iTunes (and 500,000 apps for the iPhone). Below are highlights of some of the most popular apps available for agents, brokers and other business-minded individuals, according to AlwaysCare Benefits.

Documents and Presentations: Pages, Numbers and Keynote are Apple’s tablet-friendly approximation of Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint software. Other alternatives include CloudOn and Quick Office.  If you work with PDFs, check out GoodReader, as well.

Note Gathering: Have you ever scribbled your ideas or meeting notes on a napkin? Evernote lets you capture your napkin notes by photo, recognizes letters from the screen shots, and allows you to search for them in the future. Dragon Dictation is an amazing app that uses voice-to-text transcription. There are a variety of note-taking applications such as Note Taker HD and Penultimate.

Traveling and Expense Reports: Concur, a cloud-based expense management app, enables users to enter expenses on the fly; take pictures of receipts; and submit, review and approve expense reports. For general travel purposes, check out Nightstand (alarm), Kayak (search for travel fares and deals), and UrbanSpoon (search for restaurants and reviews).

Don’t forget the cloud

For those of you unfamiliar with “the cloud,” it’s time to become familiar. The cloud represents the intangible space where files, music, videos and software can be held and accessed from multiple devices. Cloud computing offers a variety of applications: storage, databases, collaboration and communication without requiring users to maintain—or have any knowledge of—the actual infrastructure. It allows you to access your information from a laptop, smart phone and iPad.

Recently Apple launched iCloud, which offers 5GB of storage free (additional storage for a fee) to allow users to access and update their digital content across all their Apple devices wirelessly. Another free service available for any platform is DropBox, which lets users access and share files (including documents, photos and videos) anywhere.

Carriers and agencies also use apps from leading cloud computing company salesforce.com to view client data (Account Viewer), analyze performance (Mobile Dashboard) and collaborate “socially” (Salesforce Chatter, a private, secure social network) with others within—and soon outside of—their company. . 

Remember, while these apps can enhance productivity, each business has its own information security and privacy needs and concerns. Be sure to consult with your agency’s information technology/security expert or adviser before making final decisions on which apps to use and how.

Deborah Sternberg is executive vice president at AlwaysCare Benefits. She can be reached at Deborah@AlwaysCareBenefits.com or 888-729-5433 x240.



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