The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Business & Technology

September 17, 2013

Apps put employees' personal devices to work

A handful of tech companies are betting that smartphones will eventually serve a different role in the workplace than they do outside.

The "bring your own device" trend — employers cutting IT budgets by requiring employees to use personal phones instead of company-provided devices — creates a need for a new generation of special workplace communication apps, some entrepreneurs say. A recent Gartner report estimates half of employers globally will implement a "BYOD" policy by 2017.

The market has drawn the attention of start-up CoTap and corporate veteran BlackBerry, which both plan to release new workplace texting platforms in the next few weeks. Voxer, which lets users record and send sound bites, unrolled a business version of its consumer app about a month ago.

"In any industry, all companies, no matter what you do, your employees need to communicate with each other," said Jim Patterson, founder and chief executive of CoTap.

The San Francisco-based start-up recently raised $5.5 million to create an iPhone and Android app letting employees text without exchanging phone numbers. Patterson was formerly chief product officer for Yammer, a tech company that created social networks for business clients.

CoTap is intended to serve as an internal communication channel. After signing up with work e-mail addresses, CoTap users can text anyone else in a business's directory — alerting co-workers if, say, they're a few minutes late to a meeting or a conference room changed, Patterson said. Normally, one could text a co-worker if they had that person's phone number, but "if you don't, you just wouldn't bother."

Corporations are still grappling with the security issues associated with using personal phones to conduct private business. And Patterson acknowledged that such services may wind up adding to a company's costs. His company is still working out pricing models — the app will initially be free for consumers.

Text Only
Business & Technology
  • Apple offering free recycling of all used products

    Apple is offering free recycling of all its used products and vowing to power all of its stores, offices and data centers with renewable energy to reduce the pollution caused by its devices and online services.

    The iPhone and iPad maker is detailing its efforts to cultivate a greener Apple Inc. in an environmental section on the company's website that debuted Monday. The site highlights the ways that the Cupertino, Calif., company is increasing its reliance on alternative power sources and sending less electronic junk to landfills.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 19, 2014

  • Minnick New director at Ashford CLINTON -- Ashford University has appointed a new vice president/campus director of its Clinton campus. Charlie Minnick has been appointed for the position. He has been in the position on an interim basis since Jan. 1. Ashford University Provost Lori

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • McEleney McEleney elected to insurance board CLINTON -- A car dealership owner recently earned a spot on a national insurance board. John McEleney, of Clinton and owner of McEleney Motors, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Federated Insurance Companies. The election took place this w

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

    April 18, 2014

  • Local farmers honored DES MOINES -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that Marty and Michael Burken who run Blue Hyll Dairy in rural Clinton County have been named the April winners of the "Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award." Northey will present

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-19-14 FBLA photo CHS Future Business Leaders of America attend conference Thirty members of the Clinton High School Future Business Leaders of America attended their spring leadership conference at the Marriott Coralville from March 26-29. Students attending the conference competed against other Iowa students in state and

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. stock market rebounds after choppy day A stock market swoon turned into a comeback Tuesday. Stocks managed a late-afternoon rebound for the second time in two days as investors seemed to brush off a report of lower confidence among homebuilders and simmering tensions in the Ukraine. The l

    April 16, 2014

Facebook