David J. Danto
Principal Consultant, Collaboration/ AV / Multimedia / Video / UC
Director of Emerging Technology
Interactive Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance
The Traveler’s Toolbox – Update
“What do you have in this thing?” is what colleagues often ask me when they attempt to lift up my flight carry-on bag (my “personal item” as it were.) Last year I published a couple of blogs that listed a number of devices and tools that I keep with me when I travel. Things change rapidly in technology, and my bag has a bunch of new items this year, so here is an update.
· How smart is your phone? As a real “techie” I have used what is now called a smart phone for nearly 20 years. (Yes, they’ve been around that long – with things like WAP enabled browsing and camera accessories that had to be external.) Nowadays I use an iPhone for my communications. Is it the best or smartest device available – no – but as opposed to all those years of using a weird or unique device I can now get a spare charger or case at any convenience store in any city I happen to be in. One major downside of the iPhone though is it has very poor battery life. It usually doesn’t last the day for a heavy user. I found the best accessory to resolve this is a case with an additional battery built in. After trying many, I found the best one for the iPhone 5 was this one made by Lenmar. I was so hooked on this great product I wouldn’t upgrade to the iPhone 6 until Lenmar came out with a battery case for it. They finally did. They call it the Maven - and it’s just as good as the prior one was. Again, it more than doubles the life of my iPhone, and in addition, it allows you to charge and sync the phone while the case is still on (which is a critical difference as many cases don’t let you pass-through the data.) It also lets you use a standard micro USB connector for charging / docking instead of the odd and expensive Apple Lightning connector. And the most important point is that the micro USB slot is built very well - as opposed to many of the available battery cases where it gets loose, breaks or stops working within a few months.
· As a consultant that helps architect complex Unified Communications and Visual Collaboration systems I usually have to have a fully functioning notebook PC with me when I visit clients. I certainly don’t travel out of state without one. But when I don’t want to have to unpack…and boot-up…and find power…I prefer to use something smaller to be productive. I’ve upgraded my iPad2 to an iPad Air. It is a terrible device for composing PowerPoint presentations or drafting designs, but when all I have to do is read and respond to emails, browse the web and take notes it is fantastic. Forget typing on the screen though – Apple has never got the key spacing correct so sentencesbhavebBsorNsbinsteadnofnspacesballnthebtime. To solve that problem and make the tablet a fantastic device for taking notes I’ve upgraded to the It replaces lousy covers, has a magnetic bar that supports the iPad at a good working angle, and lets me touch-type almost without looking. It’s an absolute necessity if you want to make the iPad a productive tool in meetings.
· Now that the iPad, iPhone, battery case and keyboard are all upgraded, the multi-tap USB charger I was using was not powerful enough to power and charge more than one device at a time – it needed to be upgraded too. Now I use this little gem from Tech-Matte with five ports and the ability to push 2.4 amps out of four of them simultaneously. I carry two of these in case I need to plug devices in at two locations in a hotel room (desk and nightstand) but I don’t need to carry any other mobile device chargers on any trip. All that for about $20 each on Amazon makes it worth it to grab a few and keep them on hand in case I want to turn any spot in my office into a charging station.
· When I’m on the road I often participate in audio conference calls and videoconferences from wherever I happen to be. That is one of the basic tenets of Smarter Working - “work is what you do, not where you go.” I couldn’t do that without a super-powerful headset that works with my mobile phone, works with my PC, works with my iPad and stays available all the time. I still get that using my Plantronics Voyager Legend UC. A year later there is still no better Bluetooth headset on the market. It is an absolutely awesome, top of the line device that can connect to two devices simultaneously (and store many more off-line connections), has easy-to-use, intelligently located control buttons, feels great over my ear, has a case that charges it when stored, and – on top of all that – can work with physical buttons or voice controls. Do you carry your headset’s “pairing” instructions with you when you travel? Of course you don’t – and should you have to pair it to a new device it can drive anyone crazy - but not with the Voyager Legend. With this unit you just turn it on, press the voice command button and say “pair me.” It couldn’t be easier to use or give a better experience. The only update here is that if you’re one of the people who doesn’t like an over-the-ear headset (despite how comfortable this one is) Plantronics has just come out with a Voyager Edge UC version that gives you just about all of the same features in a lighter model that supports itself inside the curve of your ear.
And finally, one thing I’ve added to my toolbox is a 2 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer. With all the recent news of pandemics, flu viruses, outbreaks, etc. I’ve become a little paranoid about the shared surfaces I use in airplanes and rental cars. The first thing I do when I board or get in the driver’s seat is take out the bottle, squirt a blob into my hands and wipe-down the steering wheel, gear-shift, knobs, tray-table, armrests, etc. I’m not really sure how much it helps but it does make me feel better.
Please let me know if you find these tips useful and/or if you have any of your own. I’ll keep putting them together for future blogs.
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This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions. David has over three decades of experience providing problem solving leadership and innovation in media and unified communications technologies for various firms in the corporate, broadcasting and academic worlds including AT&T, Bloomberg LP, FNN, Morgan Stanley, NYU, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase. He now works with Dimension Data as their Principal Consultant for the collaboration, multimedia, video and AV disciplines. He is also the IMCCA’s Director of Emerging Technology. David can be reached at David.Danto@Dimensiondata.com or DDanto@imcca.org and his full bio and other blogs and articles can be seen at Danto.info. Please reach-out to David if you would like to discuss how he can help your organization solve problems, develop a future-proof collaboration strategy for internal use, or if you would like his help developing solid, user-focused go-to-market strategies for your collaboration product or service.
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