Small businesses are typically best served by focusing on the bottom line over the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. With that in mind, I took to the exhibitor floor at , a recent wireless industry event in San Diego, to find the most practical technology products that small businesses could use today for real value tomorrow.
My mission was a success. While cutting edge technology might put the fear of God into most small businesses afraid to take new risks, smart SMBs can try these three innovative products and services to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
1. Mob-Test Your Mobile App
Mobile applications are becoming increasingly more important for businesses of all sizes, but getting quality market research data on these mobile apps can be practically impossible. Specialty market research provider, , is dedicated to that exact purpose. Their mobile testing community of 20,000 mobile users using 22,000 different handsets on 330 operators in 105 countries is second to none.
You can turn to Mob4Hire for usability and functionality testing of your mobile applications prior to or post release. You post your project, choose your target audience, and Mob4Hire notifies their community of the assignment. Community members, or Mobsters, set their price, which you can approve or reject, and those accepted are sent an installation link via SMS.
Because the data Mob4Hire provides is only as good as its community, they've built constructive feedback loops into the system. You can rate the quality of feedback and responsiveness during the bidding and work processes, which all works to help sustain the quality of the community.
3. Get Green Signs and Swag
mBlox offers a suite of services around mobile messaging for advertisers, marketers, and small businesses looking to leverage the mobile platform for big business gains. One especially clever service is their which distributes tickets - think parties, sporting events, travel, entertainment - via SMS.
The service practically makes online ticketing look passé, as it can do both payment processing and ticket delivery. Once purchased, tickets are instantly delivered to mobile phones through text messages. As such, it makes for an ideal solution for last minute purchases.
Mobile ticketing also means you can distribute tickets to customers in an extremely efficient manner, track delivery, measure responses, and support multiple payment options. Consider testing out the service for your next event, show, or seminar.
Small businesses already using store signage, promotional displays, and billboards for advertisements listen up. literally caught my attention while wandering the expo hall at CTIA; The reason being that they create signage of all types using luminescent technology. Their technology is small business-friendly for three key reasons: making your message stand out, saving energy, and cutting costs.
Instead of neon lights and incandescent light bulbs, Eye Catcher uses light emitting natural phosphors which last over 30,000 hours, lower your power consumption, are made from renewable resources, all without detectable heat. Their technology and design work are cutting edge, which means you get a final product that commands attention.
Eye Catcher has been around for several years and they've already caught the attention of big brands like Nike, Bacardi, and Pepsi, but they're perfect for smaller businesses just trying to make a visual splash offline. You can use Eye Catcher for typical signage and billboards, or you can use their technology for flashy company swag, like t-shirts and hats that light up.