Mark Seemann

Mark Seemann is Mobile Business’ applications reviewer extraordinaire. He joined Genesis as director of product marketing though the acquisition of Servelogic, where he remains CEO. He has 11 years’ experience in the ISP and telecoms sectors, having been a board level director for 10 years. Mark’s expertise is product design and marketing to the UK SME market.

If you have any comments or suggestions for Mark, please email him through the editor: hmclean@

The consumer demand for the iPhone continues to grow so it’s no surprise that there is now a raft of applications being developed for its potential use as a corporate mobile device.

There’s stiff competition in this market with BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows Mobile-enabled devices offering innovative and effective corporate solutions. It’s now up to IT managers to work with business heads to filter through the range of products on the market and work out which ones will actually help team members be more productive on the road.

Regardless of the device being used, what technology providers such as ourselves are promoting is that successful mobile working is now not just about communication when out of the office, it’s about collaboration.

Computing in clouds

Cloud computing is one technology that is really starting to drive this move from mobile computing being simply an email communication tool, to a live mechanism for team members to amend, update and comment on documents being produced by others in the same network.

We’re seeing major advances in this technology; for example Microsoft’s Azure platform and its Live Mesh project enable users to synchronise information stored across domestic and work desktop computers and mobile devices. Equally, here at Genesis, we provide our clients with cloud computing-based solutions which enable secure access to CRM systems and customer information when out of the office.

Soonr has brought its cloud computing technology to the iPhone in its latest application to do just that. Its iPhone application enables team members to create their own personal ‘cloud’, which can be accessed securely by workers on the move. When a user logs in through their iPhone, they can view all of the team’s files, see who’s made amends, or uploaded new information, and also amend and share their own input into various documents.


Easy to navigate

Soonr offers an easy to view dashboard, or a file view, so it’s very easy to navigate through the documents on your touch screen. When a user clicks on a file, for example a PowerPoint document, Soonr’s technology creates a version of the file that fits neatly on the iPhone screen.

As well as your usual running order and presentation views, you can also zoom in, and even rotate the iPhone screen for a better view, just as you would do when viewing photos or movies. According to Soonr’s founder, the technology supports over 30 file types, so while I’ve not been able to test all of these out, it’s unlikely that documents can’t be viewed properly.

Where this technology comes into its own is its collaboration tools. The technology enables you to view all of the comments that your team has made on a particular document, collating these into one list, which can be accessed through one on-screen button. Likewise, you can add your own comment into the mix, which your colleagues can view either from their desktop PC, Mac or smartphone. Perfect for those last minute amends to a document before a meeting.

A nice touch is the ability to print documents from the iPhone to printers set up within the cloud, and the fact you can set an SMS alert to tell you once it’s completed. A very simple tool, but something that could save time, fuss and the need to send large documents via email to various recipients.


Bite the Apple

The Soonr application can be downloaded from the Apple Apps Store, so it’s a very simple download process. The trick for this application’s success will be more in getting a team to move away from reliance on email for sharing documents and getting them to understand and utilise the power of cloud computing.

As the marketplace shows, the technology is becoming more and more accepted in the ‘mainstream’, but applications such as this or Microsoft’s Live Mesh really demonstrate how it can increase productivity across a team; a great way to get employees to buy into a new way of working.

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