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Chamber holds iPad, apps forum

Oxford businesses learn how to use changing technology

By Freeland Oliverio
On December 6, 2012

Wednesday, Dec. 5, members of Oxford's Chamber of Commerce attended a presentation on the use of smartphones and iPads (or tablets) in small businesses. Brian Fey, who graduated in Miami University's class of 2000, is both a member of the Oxford Chamber of Commerce and Vice President at Fey Insurance uptown.

"[This presentation is] about making yourself a mobile workforce by using your iPhone/iPad with applications that will help you conduct business on the go," Fey said.

According to Fey, the workshop allows business owners to utilize technology and manage their businesses from anywhere, any place, any time.

"I have been using my iPad and iPhone in my business for the last few years and have really enjoyed studying and learning new ways to implement them into my daily business life," Fey said.

Fey displayed some apps such as Dropbox, Notability, Evernote and Cardmunch to the business owners.

Dropbox is an application that allows business owners to save documents and most other data in one basic program. By using a Dropbox account on both a smartphone and tablet, businesses can constantly save and maintain documents at any location. Other applications such as Keynote and Numbers allow iPad users to create documents and Powerpoint presentations on their phones.

According to Fey, smartphone and tablet apps are often regarded as ways by which people can seek entertainment and games.

"The apps on my phone that I use the most are Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and Netflix," Lauren Delk, undergraduate creative writing major, said.

The role of apps is headed in a more business-applicable direction.

"More and more business specific software programs that used to be used only on a PC are now creating smartphone and iPad applications," Fey said. "Because these are now available, the smartphone and iPad are a lot more relevant in the business world. "

Fey also gave attendees a rundown on smartphone, tablet security and add-ons. These include phone cases, styluses, varied display cords and connectors, as well as attachable credit-card swiping systems that attached to smartphones and iPads.

Fey's seminar is part of a series of workshops organized by the Chamber of Commerce to assist with growing and expanding local businesses according to Carol Dockum, President of the Oxford Chamber of Commerce.

"With the constant new technology every year, it's hard for small businesses to keep up," Dockum said. "This is a new initiative that the camber has taken on to give new tools to Oxford's businesses."

After Fey's presentation, members who attended said they found it helpful.

"I found Evernote to be the most impressive app," Kelly Umbstead, broker for Coldwell Banker said. "I've had my iPad for a year now, and I came here to learn to fully utilize my iPad. [Learning about] the ability to organize your information with your iPad was impressive."

"I found the presentation very informative." Scott Webb, CEO of Scott Webb Architect, said. "I feel like the different ways to share information with people is useful."

According to Fey, there is still a lot of room for expansion in the future of smartphones and tablets.

"Desktop-only software will continue to disappear," Fey said. "These programs will continue to develop so that they can be used on mobile devices which will allow the business man of tomorrow always be plugged in to their office."

Although smartphones and iPads are effective business tools, they don't come without drawbacks, according to Fey.

"This can be a good thing in that you can work at any moment you need but a bad thing because it may become more difficult to unplug.  People will need to learn to balance life more... but I am sure they will create an app for that!" Fey said.

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