iPhone in Business


“The iPhone has dramatically changed the way we work and communicate.”

Robin Smith

Constant travel, customised apps

When Robin Smith founded ArtusLabs, an ambitious software start-up that helps scientists and organisations track data, he chose iPhone for his entire staff. “First, it was a really cool piece of technology”, he says. “And as a high-tech company and a start-up, you want to be in front of customers with cool technology”.

Second, Smith wanted a reliable mobile device that didn’t require a lot of upkeep. “At a previous company I founded, we had two resources dedicated just to keeping the smart phones operational”, he says. But with iPhone, he doesn’t need any IT support, so he can focus on development and sales. “That’s a huge cost savings for us”, he says.

With iPhone, productivity at ArtusLabs has been high. “We’ve actually been able to accelerate our development times”, he says. “For one thing, we can communicate immediately with each other as we’re doing work. The other thing is, the employee satisfaction. They’re not frustrated with their phone. They’re not cursing the technology. They actually enjoy it”.

“Our employees are excited about iPhone. It’s actually a recruiting tool.”

Constant travel, eased by iPhone

For the sales executives at ArtusLabs, travel is almost non-stop. Smith is on the road 80 per cent of the time and he depends on iPhone to stay connected — to his office, to his clients, to his family and even to his hotel room.

“When you travel so much”, he says, “you tend to forget where you’re staying. And hotel hallways look the same. So I take a picture of my hotel room door, to remember which room I’m in”. He also uses iPhone to photograph the taxi cabs he takes, in case he leaves something behind and needs to call the company later.

It’s a clever way of collecting useful data, something the folks at ArtusLabs know a lot about. Their flagship product, known as Ensemble, is a web-based technology that allows scientists to upload and share projects and results. The software also correlates data based on relevance, so organisations can more easily mine their own knowledge base and use it to make meaningful decisions over time.

Across the country, in airplanes and conference rooms as they sell the technology, Smith and his team are never without iPhone. “It’s one of the most useful pieces of technology we take”, he says.

Choosing your app set

With this much travel, Smith and the other sales executives at ArtusLabs need all the help they can get managing the details — meetings, schedules, weather, rental cars, meals — and keeping in touch with people back home. Each of them uses iPhone in the ways that suit them best.

“What I love about the iPhone”, says ArtusLabs Vice President Kate Blanchard, “is that I get to customise it to meet my needs, both professionally and personally. You pick the apps that are going to make your life easier and more enjoyable. And my app set is unlike anyone else’s”.

On Blanchard’s iPhone, she has installed Facebook and LinkedIn, which she uses to keep in touch with people at home, and the Kindle reader, which allows her to download and read books on the plane. On layovers, she checks the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and E! Online apps to catch up with current events. And when she touches down, she enters her destination data into Maps and follows the driving directions. iPhone eliminates the need to rent a GPS system from the rental car agency, which saves the company money.

With so many apps in one device, iPhone reduces CEO Smith’s travel load by several kilos. “Instead of carrying ten books, I can carry one iPhone. And of course, it also has all my music and my camera”.

The sleek design and modest size make iPhone ideal for travel, too. “I really like iPhone’s size and form”, Smith says. “A lot of the other smart phones — we used to call them bricks. They were very uncomfortable to put in your pocket. This phone fits really easily. And it does everything I need”.

Instant customer service

Back in the office, iPhone has enabled ArtusLabs to offer an exceptional level of customer service. “Our customer support is almost instantaneous”, Smith says. “Our clients know who we are as a small business, so they text-message us with questions. And we can text-message right back”.

And if they need help fielding a question or request, Artus’s sales team can use the “Add call” feature on iPhone to loop in a colleague or join a conversation in progress. With this feature, ArtusLabs staff don’t have to set up a conference call with a dial-in number for another time. “It’s one the best features on the phone”, Smith says.

Business Development Executive Whitney Gilmore loves the Add call feature — and everything else about iPhone. “From a business standpoint”, she says, “it gives you everything you need in one small phone”.

Company Snapshot

  • 14 employees
  • Locations in Raleigh, North Carolina and San Jose, California
  • www.artuslabs.com

Setting the bar

ArtusLabs Vice President Kate Blanchard has seen iPhone change the landscape for mobile technology. “The iPhone has had a major impact. It sets a bar in terms of performance and what you can provide to the people working in your organisation. If you’re a business professional and you’re making a decision about a new mobile device, you can’t not be considering the iPhone, because that’s what’s being demanded by your users—by your staff. And it’s the functionality of the iPhone that’s driving that”.

Sweet dreams

With all the travel required by her job, Business Development Executive Whitney Gilmore has become a regular user of the White Noise application for iPhone. “We’re on the road so much, at so many different hotels, and sometimes I have trouble sleeping”, she says. “I’ll put my iPhone on airplane noise and it helps me fall asleep”. She uses it every night on the road and her husband has become accustomed to it at home. “He even uses it when I’m not there, to help himself fall asleep”.

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