Mobile phones have come a long way from the brick phones of a decade ago.  The smart phone now has more computing power than your average 5 year old desktop computer.

 

The challenge many of us face is finding useful things to do with a smartphone that goes beyond texting, calling and taking photos.

 

There are millions of apps to choose from across the Apple, Andriod and Windows 8 Store. Many are useless but there are a few gems.

 

Many smartphones also include apps and there are a variety of map applications that will do a great job of pinpointing where you are and where you want to go.  While these are not as accurate as the GPS in your harvester they are close.  Google maps is the standout but Nokia, Bing (Microsoft) and Apple all have good maps.

 

This brings you to the question of which is the best phone Apple Google or Windows?  That’s a bit like asking who your favorite child is. Each have their benefits and offer a full solution, however they work best when you stick with one flavor, ie Apple and iCloud, Microsoft Phone and Office 365 and Google and Google Apps.

 

One of the biggest challenges with smartphones is actually having a connection so you can do something smart with them. This is a challenge in many areas of New Zealand.  However it is getting better and there are numerous solutions to either boost up your coverage or even provide a Wi-Fi network across the farm.

 

So how do you get smart with your smart phone?   Here are some of our favorite apps:

 

Maps and Navigation

 

Google, Apple and Microsoft all have good map apps, which allow you to save a map offline allowing you to read the map when you are offline or download the map in via Wi-Fi.   The satellite view is also great, while you can’t check the crop with it, it’s a cheap way to get an aerial view. Sharing maps is also a good way to direct a contractor to exactly where you want them to spread that fert.

 

Find my friends

 

This is a great way to see where your friends, family or staff are and track or be alerted when they move.  It’s a bit of a big brother approach and possibly not ideal for tracking your prize bull but it does give you a view to where everyone is

 

 

iCloud, Dropbox and Skydrive and Drive (Google)

 

All these cloud based storage options allow you to store a copy of important documents, photos etc on your device first and then synchronize them when you are able to use a faster and cheaper internet connection.

 

Next month we will cover the most popular use of mobile phones social media