by Jenni Flinders, Vice President, Microsoft US Partner Group
I love to travel, which is fortunate considering the amount of it I do for my job. But for years, I’ve been juggling between an on the ground, connected, productive, and entertained experience with my smartphone, while in the air I’m…not. Now, that disconnect between what we want to do with our mobile devices and what we can do while flying is about to change. The FAA recently announced that it is allowing the use of small portable electronics in airplane mode at any altitude.
From the gate to the air, fliers will now have more opportunities to use their gadgets. And beyond that, Partners now have exciting new opportunities to deliver solutions that help those fliers get more done while traveling from Point A to Point B. Take a look at how some of your peers in the channel are already soaring with business-focused apps that allow fliers to:
- Manage their trips from anywhere. Microsoft partner Infusion worked with the Avis Budget Group to help their customers manage the details of their rental requests. Utilizing the Avis app fliers can book their car rentals, confirm existing reservations, all while their planes are leaving the gate. Meanwhile, Avis is more capable to manage that rental from request to return thanks to Infusion’s ‘Select and Go’ app built for Windows Embedded 8 Industry and Windows Phone 8.
- Access CRM in the cloud, while in the clouds. Many mobile business professionals rely on their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions while traveling. Through mobile solutions like Timeline and Pipeline from 2013 Partner of the Year Award Finalist AvePoint, and CWR Mobile CRM from Microsoft Dynamics partner CWR Mobility, travelers can stay current on the latest opportunities and forecasts for that big meeting while on final approach.
- Manage investments. People on the go want to stay productive, and many would love the opportunity to check up on their investments while waiting to take off. Skyline Technologies worked with Microsoft partner Appleton Group to develop clearTREND, a cloud-based program for real-time stock market trend data and investment research.
- Take care of business. Business owners’ responsibilities don’t end just because they’re out of the office, and now they can keep an eye on operations even when they’re in the air. Detroit-based Shinola, a startup manufacturing outlet, worked with Microsoft partner eMazzanti Technologies to implement a mobile system that allows the company’s executives to check in on plant operations and manage contractor access from anywhere thanks to built-in security tools in Windows 8.
- Cut website downtime. Businesses in today’s digital marketplace can’t afford to go without a live website. With Kentico Windows 8 Manager, developed by Microsoft partner Bit-Wizards to allow site administrators access to their CMS installation, a site that experiences a hiccup can be up and running before cruising altitude.
- Check items off the to-do list. For those feverishly working to finish that PowerPoint presentation or send those last few emails, the extra time to use portable electronics can be a lifesaver. Our OEMs are designing cool tablets running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT—compliant under the new FAA regulations—which offer the option of running full versions of Microsoft Office.
Customers who travel for business want to have access to their lives on the ground, even when they’re in the air. With new freedom to use devices on aircraft, I encourage you to think about how your own business could reach new heights with a mobile focus.
Connect with me on Twitter @Jenni_Flinders and share your ideas!