Technology may make our communications and business functions faster and more productive, but with it we also acquire new frustrations and a whole new class of problem scenarios for the business owner. In May, we saw the launch of several new products designed to address some common storage, security, and cell phone issues. Here is a run down:
- Problem: Dropped calls/decline in phone signal on the road
Who hasn’t had the frustration of dropped calls, or experienced a sudden decline in cell phone signal mid-conversation when driving. If you spend a lot of your workday on the road - and on the phone - you know how quickly this irritation can become a major business problem. The YX200 Dual-Band Car Cell Extender from Wi-Ex (www.wi-ex.com), designed to boost cell phone signals on the road, may be just what you need. It can’t summon up a signal where none exists, but it can significantly extend the available signal and help eliminate drop-offs. Because the YX200 repeats signals in both the 800 and 1900Mhz ranges, it is compatible with almost all wireless operators - with the exception of Sprint Nextel’s iDEN network. The product package costs $299.00 and comprises an amplifier, a 12-volt cigarette lighter power adapter, an internal antenna, and a magnetic mount antenna for the outside of the vehicle. Both antennas have 15-foot cables, which, in most vehicles, will allow the components to be placed anywhere. The internal antenna must be placed within a couple of feet of where the phone will be used (this means that if you wander away from your parked car, you will soon be out of the extended range). A word to the wise, the mobile amplifier sucks up a lot of power and should not be left on when your car is parked. If you do so, you run the risk of draining your battery.
- Problem: Off-Site data back-up systems that are unwieldy and complicated
If you find it hard to remember to backup your computer data regularly, or don’t like the idea of sending your important data to a remote server that you don’t control, LogMeIn Backup (www.logmeinbackup.com) may provide the solution you need.
Ideal for business owners who have a business operation plus a home office, LogMeIn Backup creates an automatic connection between PCs you own to allow you to backup your data from one room to another, across town or across the continent. No third-party gateway is involved and all data is securely encrypted. Your back-up material is stored in a password-protected encrypted state on the storage PC you designated. And, you determine who can access your back-up files. LogMeIn can be set to perform automated scheduled back-ups as well as one-time manual back-ups - according to your needs. You select the number of back-up sets you want stored. The LogMeIn Gateway permits instant connections between your PCs with no configuration of firewalls and routers necessary. Priced per computer, back-up for a single PC costs about $60.00 a year or $6.95 per month; for 2-9 PCs, LogMeIn for each will cost about $50 a year or $5.95 per PC a month.
- Problem: Need faster access to critical business information
Small businesses that want faster access to critical business information now have their own high-bandwidth storage solution with front-to back-end 4 gigabits per second (Gbps) technology from IBM System Storage DS4700 Express--specifically designed for smaller and for medium-sized businesses - comprises 16 disk drive bays inside a controller and up to eight host ports. The system capacity can be increased to 112 disk drives by attaching either the EXP710 or the EXP810 expansion unit to the back-end. More information on the system and on additional capacity-enhancing options is available on line at www.IBM.com. The new 4Gbps Fibre Channel interfaces are designed to auto-negotiate down to 1 Gbps and 2 Gbps for backward compatibility. The product can be upgraded to the DS4800, released about a year ago to address the needs of larger businesses. The new System Storage DS4700Express is available as of June 9, 2006. It is priced at $19,449.00 and has a three-year warranty on hardware and software.