10 Killer iPhone Apps for Business Collaboration
Keeping everyone on your team on the same page can be a hassle; project management systems that allow tasks to be assigned, progress to be logged and milestones to be established can mean the difference between smooth sailing and a sinking ship. These applications act as front ends for popular project management tools, so being away from a computer doesn't mean you have to be idle.Outpost 2
Enormo's Outpost 2 app brings the popular Basecamp project management service to your iPhone with a great interface that makes managing projects easy from the small screen. With complete support for Basecamp's many features, Outpost 2 is about as full a project management tool as you can find on a mobile device.
You can add new projects and view existing ones, add and review milestones, create and check off tasks, and track the time you spend working on any given project. Tasks and projects can be assigned to team members and commented on as progress is made.
Outpost 2 also lets you access your Basecamp address book and integrate it with your iPhone contacts. You can use Basecamp's internal messaging system to communicate with team members within the context of your project or send e-mail to any contact. An especially nice feature is the ability to manage several Basecamp accounts, making it easy to contribute to a partner's or client's project while managing your own.
Outpost 2 is $19.99. Basecamp offers a free plan for one project only with unlimited users but no file sharing; accounts that support multiple projects and file sharing start at $24 a month.Huddle
Huddle offers a fuller feature set than Basecamp, with meeting scheduling, webconferencing and document editing integrated into the Web version. Projects are organized into workspaces and focus more on workflow than task assignment, although task management is still a major part of Huddle.
The Huddle iPhone app allows you to access your workspaces, review tasks, view and approve documents and connect with your contacts. The Huddle app is free; Huddle service starts at $8 per month for a single workspace with 1GB storage, then goes up to $40 per month for five workspaces and 250GB storage, and to $8 per user for 500 or more users with unlimited workspaces and storage.
Communicating with your team
Effective communication is key to collaboration, but it can be challenging when you're out of the office. These apps help arrange, organize and integrate your communications to make working with your team more efficient.Cisco WebEx Meeting Center
Cisco's WebEx is one of the most popular conferencing services in the business world, offering live screen sharing along with teleconferencing and videoconferencing. The WebEx iPhone app brings a fairly complete teleconferencing experience to the iPhone's screen, including screen sharing and in-conference instant messaging. If you have a WebEx account, you can even initiate meetings directly from your iPhone.
Even better, the iPhone app doesn't require you to make a separate call to phone into the conference -- once you join a WebEx meeting, you are automatically connected over VoIP. And with the new forward-facing cameras on the iPhone 4, you can even send your image.
The iPhone app is free; a WebEx account costs $49 per month, but you don't need an account to join WebEx meetings via the iPhone, only to host your own.Yammer
Enterprise microblogging platform Yammer lets businesses set up a private, Twitter-like service, allowing for the open exchange of ideas, links and documents within a select network of people. Like Twitter, Yammer lets users post status updates and receive them in a constant flow, but Yammer users aren't bound by Twitter's 140-character limit. In addition, files of all sorts can be attached directly to status updates, making document sharing and collaboration easy.
Unlike Twitter users, who usually broadcast to everyone, Yammer users can set up both internal and external groups to communicate with directly. It's a great way for project teams to send quick status updates, documents and other information to their team members.
The Yammer app shows all the feeds you're subscribed to and your @ replies, along with a directory of all users in your network. The Yammer app is free; the basic Yammer service is also free, but most companies will want to opt for a paid plan, starting at $3.00 per user per month (volume discounts are available), for better administrative, security and support tools.Smart Recorder
Smart Recorder from Roe Mobile Development (RMD) is a supercharged version of the iPhone's Voice Notes audio recording app. It lets you tag recordings, bundle them with notes and photos, and share them via Box.net or using Smart Recorder's built-in server. Use the app to record and share voice memos, lectures, conversations and meetings with your team.
While recording or during playback, you can add tags and photos to specific time points -- tapping the tag or photo will take you back to the point in the recording where the tag or photo was added. Recordings are exported as .caf (Core Audio Format) files, an Apple format that can be played back on any computer using QuickTime.
Smart Recorder is $2.99; a free lightweight version can record indefinitely but only export recordings of less than three minutes.
Your turn: What are your favorite iPhone apps for collaboration? Let us know in the article comments.
Product mentioned in this article
Apple 32GB iPhone 4 (GSM, AT&T)
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The iPhone 4 is a major upgrade from its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS, in everything from the camera quality to data speeds.