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Must-Have Accessories for the Mobile Workforce

By Paul Fitzgerald for America's Backbone Weekly

Connectivity is revolutionizing today's workforce. Instead of whiling the time away in a dark office, many of your company's employees, while scattered across various physical locations, are connected to each other and HQ by computers, Smartphones and other connected devices via the global Internet.

To ensure your mobile workforce is more productive and efficient on the fly, here are seven products every mobile employee should have on the road. These items are universally needed and perform very specific tasks.

Drones: These devices are proving to be invaluable aids in a variety of workplace settings and applications. On construction sites, for instance, basic survey and inspection work, which previously posed safety considerations for those doing those tasks, drones can go places and do things humans shouldn't. They also have uses in insurance, agriculture and other industries where a bird's eye view is critical. These items are priced around $550.

Bluetooth Wireless Headsets. One of the most popular innovations of recent times is the Bluetooth wireless headset. It enables hands-free phone calls, which are essential for employees traveling via automobile. In most states, the use of a cell phone is outlawed because it distracts the driver from the road and his or her primary duty: driving. Wireless headsets also allow workers to, for example, converse with headquarters on a job site or a client at the airport while leaving hands free to talk with colleagues and contractors on the clock or while you walk through airport security. They enable a level of mobility and efficiency previously unimagined. The prices for these items range from approximately $250 to $380.

Protective Cases & Battery Cases. Nothing can bring a project to a grinding halt like a busted Smartphone. You can't access your email, texts, contacts or schedule -- everything you need to do your job. Even everyday use can have a detrimental effect on the condition of your phone, as dirt can scratch the phone's touch-screen making it unreadable. Protective cases can significantly lengthen the life of the mobile phone, saving the money and bother needed of prematurely having to replace mobile devices. In addition to the foregoing, you can also buy cases that combine the benefit of protection with recharging your phone. Some battery case models allow for virtually doubling the life of your Smartphone battery. They also have the added feature of allowing you to see how much juice is left in your device at any given time. The latest models are more protective and lighter than previous versions.

Dashboard Mounting Brackets. Those who operate motorized fleets will especially appreciate this accessory. Like the Bluetooth headset, dashboard-mounting brackets allow for hands-free use of Smartphones. It also allows visual information—from, say, navigation systems like Waze—to be accessed hands-free.

Rugged Tablets. Early versions of Tablets frustrated many professional users because of their lack of durability. On a job site, there are even more hazards to consider like harsh vibrations or extreme climate conditions. Thankfully, those days are over now that rugged Tablets are available to mobile workforces.

Touch Screen Displays. As the name implies, touch screen technology has become a vital accessory for mobile workforces. Newer models have a three-inch screen and permit people in the field to maximize their time-saving capacity. The accessibility of touch-screen technology means users can gain the necessary information quicker, saving valuable time in the process.

Extra Mobile Device. In the event of a sudden device loss, this is vital for business continuity. If your mobile workforce is mandated to deliver products, a backup Tablet is just the ticket because it allows you to keep functioning in case of an unexpected event.

Bluetooth Speaker. A portable mini Bluetooth speaker can turn a Smartphone into a powerful sound system so multiple listeners can hear at once. It can also transform watching instruction or advertising videos on a Tablet into an immersive experience. Some can even double as a speakerphone. Models are also splash-proof while featuring a speakerphone.

Power Bank. Most people panic when their Smartphone or PC battery dies while traveling. They can't reach the hotel, call for a ride or reach clients. Having a power bank at the ready can solve the problem. Larger models are available for charging power-hungry products like a laptop and less-hungry items like cell phones. These items are portable and capable of charging handsets, Tablets and Bluetooth devices.

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