Beam Me up, Scotty, and Log Me in

Those who grew up watching “Star Trek,” the classic Gene Roddenberry science fiction TV show from the 1970s, probably remember being glued to the TV screen. We watched the crew of the Enterprise travel through outer space and communicate with one another by means of “communicators.” It always sounded as though Captain James T. Kirk was in a big hurry when he ordered his chief engineer to transport him back to the ship.

After each episode we would talk about how cool it would be if we could beam ourselves from place to place or call our friends using one of those communicators. Our appetite for technology is increasing every day. We demand better graphics, faster downloads and more information accessibility. As technology continues to develop, it pushes us to embrace multitasking. Some of us are co-dependent on our cell phones and cannot control texting behavior. Could you live without your cell phone for a day, or an entire week? How stressed out do you feel just thinking about it? We have become one with technology and we simply cannot live without it. While this is normal, it’s easy to leverage technology to our advantage.

We’re busy and so are our customers who seem as though they are running in five directions at one time. It is increasingly difficult to book an appointment or a design meeting with clients. Trying to set up a face-to-face meeting these days takes an act of Congress. In business, having face-to-face meetings is still important, but not necessary all the time.

My businesses have been using a popular online meeting tool for a few years until we were introduced to a different online collaboration tool called Log Me In. This company has created a tool that simplifies how users connect and share information.

For example, my wife works as a bookkeeper for a local CPA firm and a few days ago I told her about Log Me In’s web application. To my surprise she told me she had been using it at work for months! I asked how it was being used and she explained how she logs into customers’ computers and updates their daily entries to their QuickBooks accounting software. Wow! It is better than beaming yourself to your client’s office. We now have the ability to remotely access (with permission) a restricted area on our customer’s computer while sitting in our office drinking a cup of coffee. She then told me that you can transfer files between computers, print remote files to your local printer, share a large file without using e-mail attachments, FTP, or a third-party site or share your desktop with another person. This simplifies her job because she has access to the information she needs to perform her job. Brilliant!

Our design firm recently used Log Me In on a third-floor attic space that is to be completely gutted and remodeled. We were given this project with the understanding that it needed to be completely designed and ready for construction in two weeks’ time. Our team measured the space in a few hours, built the existing 3-D model the next day and met with the clients by the end of the week. Our clients, the contractor and I met in Boston and our 3-D modeling team located in the Midwest joined us by using the Log Me In web application. The clients were thrilled to see their new space on screen and it made a big difference when it came to talking about what they wanted and what they could fit within it.

After the meeting I went back to my office and collaborated with my 3-D modeler for a few hours. We used the information we had gleaned from the client meeting to start the design process. Within a few hours we had solid design ideas and invited the contractor to join us online to show him our progress. He joined our online meeting and was excited to see how thorough and complete the plans were, which had been developed in such a short amount of time. Using technology wisely and efficiently can help our businesses, and can help us achieve more in our personal lives.

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