Have you seen the film “Her” with Joaquin Phoenix?
Basically, boy meets girl — but the girl happens to be Samantha, a Siri-esque operating system with an amazing personality and access to every search engine. (Imagine Google Now with a Match.com personality, tailored to suit your preferences.)
While the movie shows the downsides of dating your smartphone, it’s OK to get more personal with your device — as long as you keep it professional. Whether you talk to Siri on a regular basis or not, you can use apps to get closer to your phone and make it behave more like your very own personal assistant.
In 1776, our forefathers rode for days on horseback to sign a document declaring their independence. In 1976, our fathers faxed documents back and forth to sign permits, checks, and invoices.
A few weeks ago, I uploaded a document to DocuSign and avoided chasing people around the world (literally) by sending a notification directly to their smartphones. Within minutes, a recipient can review the document, sign and initial it, and send it back to you. It’s great for onboarding new hires (particularly remote freelancers), sending business proposals, and closing deals on the go.
Evernote puts all of my thoughts, notes, and pictures at my fingertips. My notes are accessible from all my devices and time-stamped for easy sorting so I can access my notes on the run, rather than scratching my head or guessing about a date when I need to recall something important.
Evernote Hello, Evernote’s new app, allows me to digitally store business cards and other valuable contacts. At CES 2014, I received at least 500 new business cards. All I had to do was take a picture of each one to have the pertinent info extracted, emailed to me, and connected on LinkedIn.
The information superhighway is only as good as your connection. The problem with traveling is the frustration of trying to get connected to Wi-Fi in hotel lobbies and airports. Public Wi-Fi is a pain, and when you have VPN or a proxy server added to the mix, it can be a nightmare.
Thankfully, Skype has a little-known app called Skype Wi-Fi that charges 10 cents a minute to connect to hotspots around the world. That’s right — you can even use it overseas. I wouldn’t recommend it for hours of mindless surfing, but for those times when you just need to log on for a minute to check your email or get directions, it can be a lifesaver.
With all the different sources of information available online, keeping up with the latest headlines can seem nearly impossible. I use Feedly to sort through and browse all my technology news, market trends, and business insights. No matter what my interests are, Feedly keeps me informed by feeding me the conversations and voices I want, sorted however I choose.
No matter what service provider or operating system you use, there’s no reason not to have Google Voice. Its integration of voice and text services is quickly bridging the gap so you can communicate with anyone in any manner across any device you choose. The freedom this open communication relationship provides makes Google Voice an easy decision. SMS messages and voicemails are automatically transcribed and emailed to me. Calls are filtered by my exact instructions. Best of all, it’s not costing me a penny.
Staying organized and productive doesn’t have to be difficult — even when you’re constantly on the go. All of the tools you need are available on your smartphone. Siri might not be as personable as Scarlett Johansson’s Samantha, but at least you’ll be connected and well-organized, regardless of where you go — and that’s pretty appealing.
Ioannis Verdelis is the co-founder and COO of Fleksy, a revolutionary keyboard that makes typing on a touchscreen so easy you can type without even looking. Ioannis is a member of many entrepreneurial organizations, including the Young Entrepreneur Council, Empact Sphere, Startup America, and more. Connect with him on Twitter.