StartUp Camp – Austin

We got out of the office a bit last week to attend the IT Expo in Austin, TX.  One of my favorite things about the IT Expo is StartUp Camp.  StartUp camp selects 4 early-stage companies to pitch their innovations to judges and an audience filled with industry leaders, media and investors.

It is often said that the journey of an entrepreneur can be lonely.

That may be true at times.

But that moment, when someone realizes that your dream fulfills their needs…

The following companies were the finalists at the Austin session of StartUp Camp.  Show them a little love and check them out:

VSnap – Have you ever sent an email to a prospect and when you received their response you realized “Wow.  I was completely misunderstood”?  You struggle to regain ground, but you feel the sale slipping away.  VSnap helps you avoid miscommunications by allowing you to send a short video message in which you can clearly capture your tone, emotion, enthusiasm and authenticity.  You can send VSnaps to individual email addresses, email groups or through your twitter feed.

Click here to see an example of a video message sent using VSnap.

For more on VSnap – click here

Phonism – As VoIP admins, the founders of Phonism wished there was a better way to provision and manage IP phones.  They decided to take matters into their own hands and created a carrier grade Phone Management System that took the complexity out of provisioning.  In addition to handling all your provisioning tasks with ease, they also give users the ability to customize their desk phones with backgrounds, ringtones, contacts and more.

Click here to learn more about Phonism.

RingDNA – RingDNA is a voice communications company that wants to help your organization improve its sales, marketing and support performance.  It allows you to use your iPad as a call center integrated with CRM, call-tracking and marketing analytics.  It delivers real-time data, social media streams and behavior marketing insights when you need it most – while you are speaking with a potential customer trying to close the deal.

Click here to learn more about RingDNA.

Zello – works on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows devices to turn your phone into a Walkie Talkie.  It is a social radio, much like voice twitter.  It can be used to participate or listen in on public conversations, or stay connected with a group of friends.  Businesses use Zello to replace 2-way radio or push-to-talk.  You can also create a Zello “room” for your company’s customers to visit whenever they have questions.

For more on Zello – click here

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How the Cloud Increases Productivity

Here’s a simple, yet real-world, example about how doing business in the cloud can increase your productivity:

Recently, we drove down to Miami Beach for the 2012 IT Expo.  I was in charge of booking the hotel rooms for our group.  I had gotten a couple requests from my coworkers…”will you book us a hotel with a decent gym?” “Please make sure we are close to the Convention Center and area attractions.”  I wanted to make sure everyone was happy.  I started my hotel search on-line, through a travel search engine, to compare rates and amenities to narrow down my choice.  I looked at a good 10 places before deciding on one.  I just needed to confirm a couple of things, so I called in to the reservation desk.  While I was on the line, I booked our rooms.  As plans often do, ours changed.  I had to call the reservation desk and extend our room reservations for another night.  I was in middle of making great headway on an important project, and suddenly, I was sidetracked.

I was so focused on my task at hand, I couldn’t remember which hotel I chose.  All I could remember was that it was my last call before lunch on Monday.  I needed to get the room extension done quickly.  I was working on a deadline and didn’t want to waste valuable time searching through my emails for my hotel confirmation to jog my memory.

This is one of the many reasons I love having the cloud enabled for our phone systems.  I just opened my call log in my toolbar, went straight to Monday, right before lunch, and clicked to dial.  My phone automatically started ringing on speakerphone.  This was perfect because I was instantly put on hold and my wait time was “greater than five minutes.”

While I waited, I switched windows and pulled up my email, and found my confirmation number.  With the on-hold musak playing in the background, I switched back to my project and got back to work.  A few minutes later, I finally got through to customer service.  I pulled up my confirmation number and updated our room reservation in a matter of seconds.  After my call was completed, my phone automatically hung up and I continued working on my project, with virtually no interruption – my fingers never even left the keyboard!  All the information I needed was stored in the cloud and instantly accessible in Internet Explorer.  I didn’t have to break my concentration and waste valuable minutes searching for phone and confirmation numbers.

The cloud is a proven tool to help you increase productivity and efficiency in your organization.  How has the cloud improved your business’ productivity?  If you are not utilizing the cloud….what are you waiting for?