If you’re a small business owner who spends a lot of time on the road, you’re probably never far from your mobile device. Increasingly, whether your travel is business or personal, staying connected to your office or business is a must. According to a recent Pew Internet Research survey, more than 92% of American adults own a cellphone; 90% of them carry it with them constantly.
Carrying your phone with you everywhere may be becoming more common, but just having your phone with you isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to get work done. That’s where mobility solutions come in. Mobility solutions allow you to safely and securely access the files, data, equipment and important business applications so that when you’re working on your mobile phone, you’re actually able to get work done.
A few of these options include:
- Mobile VPN Software
- Mobile Printing
- Mobile Payment
Mobile VPN Software
Long a mainstay of many enterprise businesses that needed connectivity with traveling employees’ business laptops, Virtual Private Networks or VPNs are now becoming more common on mobile devices. Indeed, mobile VPN’s or mVPNs, are a rapidly growing area of mobile computing.
A VPN creates a “tunnel” or connection between two points using a web browser. The challenge for mobile VPNs has always been that a fixed connection couldn’t be maintained between a server and mobile device when moving between different wireless networks, passing through areas of poor coverage, or when devices were turned off to preserve battery life. Any of these situations could lead to VPN disconnection, failure or a device crash. For these reasons, mobile devices were not compatible with fixed VPN connections.
This is changing with mobile VPN’s. Mobile VPNs are software applications that can be downloaded onto your mobile phone to provide safe and secure access to your business network. Mobile VPNs are increasing in popularity: driven by business’ need for constant connectivity and faster response times, the global mobile VPN market is growing at about 21% per year reach $2.4 billion by 2022.
There are many advantages of mobile VPN’s for small business owners. One of the most critical advantages is that it allows you to securely run applications such as a Voice over IP system through your mobile phone, without the lack of security normally associated with using a public wireless or cellular network. It also provides the appearance that you’re calling from your office, even if you’re calling from the beach or your backyard.
If you’re working on the road and need to provide documents such as an invoice or order form to a customer, you used to be forced to carry a form with you, or mail it when you returned to the office. With today’s mobile printers, you can now print documents from your mobile device no matter where you are. Mobile printers can fit in a glove compartment or suitcase, making it fast and easy to provide professional documentation of the work you’ve done, deliver better service to customers and even get paid more quickly.
One of the best mobile device applications for small business owners to be rolled out in recent years is mobile payment functionality. Mobile payment adoption is growing at about 210% per year and by the end of 2017 it’s estimated that about half of all mobile users will be using mobile devices to make payments.
Vendors and business owners are taking advantage of consumer’s increasing comfort with mobile payments by rolling out mobile point of sale systems, such as Square, to facilitate taking payments from customers. These systems can be used in any customer-facing setting, meaning that invoice you printed with your mobile printer can be paid immediately with a card or a mobile wallet. For business owners, this means you can accept payments any time, anywhere.
Business owners increasingly rely on mobile phones to stay connected to their business even when their travel plans take them on the road. At Tolar Systems, we specialize in helping business owners leverage mobile options like mobile VPNs, portable printers and mobile payment solutions to help our clients run their business more profitably, wherever and whenever they may be working. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you leverage your mobile options.