AT&T Unveils Mobile Apps Portal for SMBs
Mobile IT managers of small businesses needing guidance in finding the best mobile applications for their companies have a new tool at their disposal: a mobile app portal from AT&T designed specifically for that purpose.
The nation's No. 2 wireless carrier today unveiled an upgraded version of its Small Business Mobile Application Recommender Tool (SMART) that offers improved payment processing and that recommends mobile downloads based on a company's needs or specific industry.
Additionally, AT&T today released four new mobile applications that focus on streamlining business tasks in the field and that can be purchased directly from the revamped SMART portal.
News of AT&T's small business mobile app portal comes at a time when more SMBs (less than 100 employees) are spending more on mobile apps -- increasing from $241.8 million in 2008 to a projected $616.5 million market by 2012 -- a compound annual growth rate of more than 20 percent, according to market research firm Compass Intelligence.
Key in the SMART makeover is a simpler user interface, according to AT&T, that allows mobile managers to learn about, buy and deploy certified, third-party mobile applications from AT&T based on their industry or line of business.
The portal dynamically presents solutions that will fit the particular mobile needs of a small business after a mobile manager selects attributes from a series of industry-specific options. There are also new video demos to help customers better understand how the applications can help their business.
Small businesses can also use a new “buy now” feature to install mobile downloads more quickly. Once applications have been selected, designated small business subscribers will typically receive application download and registration instructions directly on their mobile phones, often making it as easy as a single click, according to AT&T.
New BlackBerry Apps, Mobile Computing Apps
Meanwhile, the four newest mobile applications now available for purchase directly through the AT&T SMART portal include:
1. AIRTIME Manager from AT&T : Enables professionals to track billable hours on their BlackBerry mobile device. Ideal for professional services companies such as law firms, consultants and engineers, the solution captures time associated with wireless e-mails, phone calls, and other billable events, enabling improved time entry directly into a company’s billing system.
2. Associate from AT&T : A complete mobile dictation solution, turning compatible AT&T smartphones into portable dictation devices. Users can capture, encrypt, transfer and store verbal information in a centralized location for easy retrieval by authorized support staff. The solution is targeted at lawyers, doctors, and other providers of professional services.
3. Nice Office from AT&T : A CRM solution that allows businesses to mobilize their office that includes a browser application that can synchronize with Microsoft Outlook, as well as with mobile devices. Users can wirelessly sync contacts, calendar, tasks and notes. Nice Office from AT&T also offers real-time job updates, detailed reporting capabilities, and automatic logging and backup and recovery of mobile activities. In addition, it provides the ability to update and send forms and documents from the field via a suite of mobile office applications, including contact management, work tasks, sales opportunity management, calendar, e-mail and auto journals.
4. ProntoForms from AT&T : Enables businesses to streamline their out-of-office business processes by turning paper forms into mobile forms. The ProntoForms app is designed to create forms, capture data, generate reports and manage users, all in real-time over the AT&T wireless network. Users can quickly create a mobile form, as well as capture signatures, photos, and geo stamp information. Once data has been captured in a mobile form and submitted, data can be turned into e-mails, PDF reports, and be exported into back office systems.
The SMART portal also continues to offer dozens of other certified mobile applications targeted at specific industries including construction, transportation, health care, legal, and other professional services that can can be purchased directly from third-party developers.