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How to work seamlessly across multiple devices

Paul Mah | March 20, 2014
Employees who used to burn the midnight oil at the office now get to do so from the comforts of home, thanks to the proliferation of personal laptops, tablets and smartphones. Getting files to appear on and sync with multiple devices can be challenging, but a little bit of advanced planning can go a long way.

Sync devices

Working late into the night in your cubicle to meet a deadline is an uncommon scenario these days. Most employees can use a business-issued laptop or a home PC to complete work assignments from the comfort of home.

Using multiple devices for genuine, productive work is harder than it sounds, though. Some form of planning and preparation is needed to ensure that you're not stranded with the wrong or outdated work files, or you're not wasting time learning a different set of applications.

To help you along, here are some simple steps to help busy executives and small business owners alike get a head start on working seamlessly on multiple devices.

Today's World Calls for a Multiplatform Strategy

Despite weak sales of PCs and Macs, especially desktops, these devices continue to form the backbone of the computing environment in businesses of all sizes. It helps that PC makers have adapted by emphasizing battery life over raw performance and producing lightweight portable devices available in various form factors.

Of course, the billions of tablets and smartphones that have shipped mean that employees are highly comfortable with these devices and just as likely to have them on hand. Moreover, many mainstream smartphones now sport displays exceeding five inches. A smartphone is probably better for reviewing data than writing a long report, but there's no denying that the gaps between smartphones, tablets and laptops is narrowing.

It's apparent, then, that a meaningful multiplatform strategy must consider the realities of the BYOD phenomenon. As such, you need to look not just at desktop and laptop platforms running Windows and Mac OS X but also tablets and smartphones running on popular platforms such as Android and iOS. 

Identify the Apps You Need to Be Productive

The first steps toward an effective multiplatform, multi-device strategy involve identifying the apps that you actually use for your work and then whittling the list down to four or five of the most commonly used apps. This task isn't as difficult as most may initially envision, since most of our work activities typically revolve around just a handful of applications in the first place.

You can identify these apps by observing your activities at a PC on a typical work day. If you have problems remembering the last time you used a particular app, then it may be a good idea to drop it from the list. The end result is a list of apps whose availability on each of your device is necessary to help you stay productive.

An increasing number of developers recognise that users no longer stick to a single platform or device. Some of your must-have apps may already be available on both PC and Mac, and they may feature inherent cloud support to help keep files synchronized between devices. If that's the case, then all you need to do is download or purchase and then install the app. You're good to go.


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