Last week Apple announced the new version of the iPhone and also a range of new services that will be interesting to small businesses. This is a good sign that the big technology providers are starting to invest in solutions that will make it easier for small businesses to use technology.
MobileMe is a new email service that has some features you would normally only expect if you were part of a larger enterprise and had an IT department.
MobileMe stores a copy of your email and contacts on the internet so you can get to them from anywhere, as well as have email and contacts shared across the computers and your phone.
iPhone users will get alerted immediately when an email is received. This is called ‘push email’ as the email server sends you a notification as soon as it receives a new email message. This makes email a far more dependable communication tool between you, your staff and customers. You send and receive email messages immediately like you might with SMS messaging now.
Google and Microsoft have also been busy for small businesses. Both providers have hosted email services that allow you to have your own domain name and manage email for a the people in your team. These services are standard based so can be used by your existing email software.
MobileMe takes it to the next level however and it will be interesting to see if they allow you to host your own domain name or if you have to be ‘email@example.com’.
Google also has shared spreadsheets, documents and storage that small business owners can use for free called Google Apps. You can even change things in your documents at the same time! You will need a geek friend to set these up for you as it can be a bit complicated. Most mobile IT support companies will be able to help you get started.
They will also be able to help you get an email domain. Much more professional to be firstname.lastname@example.org that email@example.com.
We expect that these announcements will spark more innovation from Google and Microsoft. It’s exciting to see such useful technology being made accessible to small business owners.