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Staying connected [The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga.]
[April 24, 2011]

Staying connected [The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga.]

(Valdosta Daily Times (GA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 24--VALDOSTA -- From accountants to funeral directors, smartphones are becoming a popular tool among local business owners and workers who want or need to stay connected while away from the office.

A smartphone is a mobile phone that offers more of an advanced computing ability, much like a normal computer, than the normal cell phone that you can use to text and make phone calls.

A smartphone, such as an iPhone or Droid, lets you do everything on your cell phone that you would normally do on your computer at home or office.

Forty percent of the respondents nationally said their employees are using wireless devices or wireless technologies to perform job tasks while away from the office, according to a recent poll by AT&T, which surveyed 2,000 respondents.

In the Atlanta section of the AT&T poll, nearly 60 percent of small businesses said that smartphones are important to running their businesses.

Local business owners also take advantage of this opportunity.

"Advancements in smartphone technology have been truly amazing," Mark Buescher, certified public accountant and owner of Buescher and Ruff, LLC, said. "As a CPA, obtaining immediate and accurate information is an absolute must in a very competitive business environment." Buescher said he is able to use his Droid smartphone throughout the day to instantly receive both personal and business emails while he is out of his office.

"When a client has immediate needs or a crisis, I'm able to quickly respond," Buescher said. "My cellphone, which ties into our office's computerized calendars, reminds me of appointments throughout the day as well." Buescher is even able to link his smartphone to his office computer programs to pull up client tax returns or financial statements, all through a secure portal.

"Yesterday, while waiting at a doctor's office, I received my daily update from our tax law service informing me of some important, pending tax law changes," Buescher said. "I definitely feel that my smartphone is a vital tool in my business. It enables me to be much more responsive to my clients' needs, which is crucial in today's business climate." Jonathon Stroble, a regional representative with the Georgia Student Finance Commission, agrees with Buescher.

Stroble travels the southwest region of Georgia, in addition to various trips to Atlanta for work meetings. He uses his smartphone, a Blackberry Bold, as both a personal and work phone.

"Without my smart phone and the ability to work from where I am in the state, I would imagine my work day would increase from about a 10-hour day to an easy 12- to 14-hour day," Stroble said. "The ability to multi-task, schedule appointments, check emails, or just pay bills allows me to be much more productive with my time. Of course, all this multi-tasking doesn't take place while driving." Javon Longieliere, a world-traveling wedding photographer and Valdosta resident, uses his smartphone to help with work because he is constantly traveling overseas.

"So much of my business is done through the Internet, so I have to be able to check my email through my phone," Longieliere said. "The iPhone allows me to do both wherever I am, which means that I am never out of touch with my clients. That's not forgetting Facebook or Twitter which also allows me to stay in touch with other vendors and wedding planners." Recently Longieliere's iPhone came in handy when booking a wedding.

"I was in France for a wedding and I was on my phone, with a girl whose family that I have worked with many times, finalizing the contract for her wedding back in the States," Longieliere said. "I got her message through the email on my phone that she was getting married and I called her from my phone to book the wedding. Couldn't have done that without it." Even small town business owners are getting into the swing of things when smartphones are concerned. Kendell Blankumsee with Blankumsee, Thomas and Wright Funeral Services in Quitman and Jason Exum who owns Funtime Bounce Houses in Boston are both using smartphones to keep up with their businesses while away from the office.

"I have a Verizon LG Touch and I use it to get my e-mails throughout the day while I'm away from my office," Exum said. "I stay in touch with my employees through picture messages so I can be in more than once place at one time. It also keeps me mobile. I can run credit cards and process requests and stay on top of things in the palm of my hand." "I have a Droid X phone and I use it tremendously," Blankumsee said. "I use it when I'm not in the office to send obituaries to the newspapers, email information to various vendors and keep myself organized for upcoming funerals." ___ To see more of The Valdosta Daily Times, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2011, The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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