Press-Republican

FYI...

September 29, 2013

Apps put employees' personal devices to work

A handful of tech companies are betting that smartphones will eventually serve a different role in the workplace than they do outside.

The "bring your own device" trend — employers cutting IT budgets by requiring employees to use personal phones instead of company-provided devices — creates a need for a new generation of special workplace communication apps, some entrepreneurs say. A recent Gartner report estimates half of employers globally will implement a "BYOD" policy by 2017.

The market has drawn the attention of start-up CoTap and corporate veteran BlackBerry, which both plan to release new workplace texting platforms in the next few weeks. Voxer, which lets users record and send sound bites, unrolled a business version of its consumer app about a month ago.

"In any industry, all companies, no matter what you do, your employees need to communicate with each other," said Jim Patterson, founder and chief executive of CoTap.

The San Francisco-based start-up recently raised $5.5 million to create an iPhone and Android app letting employees text without exchanging phone numbers. Patterson was formerly chief product officer for Yammer, a tech company that created social networks for business clients.

CoTap is intended to serve as an internal communication channel. After signing up with work e-mail addresses, CoTap users can text anyone else in a business's directory — alerting co-workers if, say, they're a few minutes late to a meeting or a conference room changed, Patterson said. Normally, one could text a co-worker if they had that person's phone number, but "if you don't, you just wouldn't bother."

Corporations are still grappling with the security issues associated with using personal phones to conduct private business. And Patterson acknowledged that such services may wind up adding to a company's costs. His company is still working out pricing models — the app will initially be free for consumers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 23, 2014

  • Why it's basically impossible to delete those naked selfies you text

    If you're selling an old Android smartphone on an online auction site, you could be giving away rather more than you intend to, according to a recent investigation by anti-malware company Avast.

    July 21, 2014

  • Why does the Vatican need a bank?

    The Vatican Bank's history reads more like Dan Brown than the financial pages, but its worst -- and weirdest -- days may be behind it.

    July 18, 2014

  • Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

    Americans' taste in coffee might be getting more high-end _with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers - but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: toward instant coffee.

    July 17, 2014

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can plants hear? Study finds that vibrations prompt some to boost their defenses

    They have no specialized structure to perceive sound as we do, but a new study has found that plants can discern the sound of predators through tiny vibrations of their leaves - and beef up their defenses in response.

    July 12, 2014

  • wheat1.jpg Backlash has begun against gluten-free dieters

    The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140516-recalls_1357_88cb85dbc81b724b4ae9c83db4426fd8.jpg Auto recalls break single-year US record with six months to go

    With six months left in 2014, automakers have already recalled more vehicles in the United States than in any other year on record.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • The science of shyness

    Shy people have quite a bit to contend with - not least the word itself. It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To "shy away" from something implies avoidance; to "shy" can also mean to move suddenly in fright; to "be shy of" something can mean to come up short, or be insufficient.

    July 8, 2014

  • Wanna write a pop song? Here's a foolproof equation

    Pop songs (generally) stay in one key, are in 4/4 time, last between three and five minutes, are organized into chunks of four or eight bars, have a repeating chorus played two to four times, include the title sung at least three times, and feature short melodic fragments that repeat a lot to help everyone to remember them.

    July 7, 2014