Small Business Expert

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Mobile Technology for Business Owners On the Go

Hotel rooms. Coffee shops. Planes, trains and automobiles. Sometimes these remote places become a small-business owner's office when he or she is traveling. But just because you're on-the-go doesn't mean you can't stay connected to your business and keep up with the myriad of tasks on your plate.

Luckily for road-warrior types, a number of gadgets and high-tech services are designed for helping business owners boost productivity while on the move. Here's a look at some of the best:

Hands-Free Calling and Bluetooth Headsets

A number of high-quality, hands-free calling and wireless Bluetooth headsets can make it easier to participate in meetings or converse with colleagues while driving. The MoGo Talk XD and XD2 ($99.99) are practical options that offer four hours of talk time and noise and wind-reduction features, as their earpieces snap directly into a compatible iPhone case. Given this specialized housing, it's difficult to lose the devices.

Still, those looking for premium audio quality or a more stylish solution can try the Motorola Finiti ($129.99), whose three microphones do an excellent job of filtering out ambient background noise.

While a little larger and less aesthetically pleasing than some of its rivals, the Platronics Voyager PRO+ ($99.99) is a contender as well. Its features include crisp call quality and an optional phone service that lets you use voice-activated commands to send email and texts, or listen to breaking news.

In-Car Apps and Online Connectivity

Car owners looking to stay connected also have several choices. Ford's SYNC with MyFordTouch hands-free, voice activated technology is available in a number of its models, including the 2011 Taurus and Explorer, and 2012 Focus and Mustang. It includes a color-coded dashboard display with dual 4.2-inch LCD monitors and the ability to access turn-by-turn directions or retrieve your phonebook for hands-free calling. You can also dictate Tweets or change radio stations via spoken command.

For Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC or Buick owners, in-vehicle emergency and communications service OnStar offers a MyLink app that lets you turn your phone into a remote control. Using it, you can unlock your door, start the vehicle or activate your horn and lights from a distance.

Toyota will soon introduce an in-dash multimedia system called Entune, which pairs with smartphone appsso you can conduct online searches via Bing, book lunch meetings through OpenTable or access traffic reports and stock quotes.

GPS, Outdoor and Location-Based Devices

Business owners who frequently travel to remote areas might consider picking up the Spot Connect ($169.99 + $99.99/year). A puck-shaped navigator that connects your smartphone to communications satellites, it offers instant location tracking as well as the option to check in with the office anywhere, regardless of local cellular coverage.

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