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Art and Science of Partnerships: The sky’s the limit for partners under new FAA rules

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by Jenni Flinders, Vice President, Microsoft US Partner Group

Jenni%20Flinders%202010%2001_jpgI love to travel, which is fortunate considering the amount of it I do for my job. But for years, I’ve been juggling between an on the ground, connected, productive, and entertained experience with my smartphone, while in the air I’m…not. Now, that disconnect between what we want to do with our mobile devices and what we can do while flying is about to change. The FAA recently announced that it is allowing the use of small portable electronics in airplane mode at any altitude.

From the gate to the air, fliers will now have more opportunities to use their gadgets. And beyond that, Partners now have exciting new opportunities to deliver solutions that help those fliers get more done while traveling from Point A to Point B. Take a look at how some of your peers in the channel are already soaring with business-focused apps that allow fliers to:

  • Manage their trips from anywhere. Microsoft partner Infusion worked with the Avis Budget Group to help their customers manage the details of their rental requests. Utilizing the Avis app fliers can book their car rentals, confirm existing reservations, all while their planes are leaving the gate. Meanwhile, Avis is more capable to manage that rental from request to return thanks to Infusion’s ‘Select and Go’ app built for Windows Embedded 8 Industry and Windows Phone 8.
  • Access CRM in the cloud, while in the clouds. Many mobile business professionals rely on their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions while traveling. Through mobile solutions like Timeline and Pipeline from 2013 Partner of the Year Award Finalist AvePoint, and CWR Mobile CRM from Microsoft Dynamics partner CWR Mobility, travelers can stay current on the latest opportunities and forecasts for that big meeting while on final approach.
  • imageManage investments. People on the go want to stay productive, and many would love the opportunity to check up on their investments while waiting to take off. Skyline Technologies worked with Microsoft partner Appleton Group to develop clearTREND, a cloud-based program for real-time stock market trend data and investment research.
  • Take care of business. Business owners’ responsibilities don’t end just because they’re out of the office, and now they can keep an eye on operations even when they’re in the air. Detroit-based Shinola, a startup manufacturing outlet, worked with Microsoft partner eMazzanti Technologies to implement a mobile system that allows the company’s executives to check in on plant operations and manage contractor access from anywhere thanks to built-in security tools in Windows 8.
  • Cut website downtime. Businesses in today’s digital marketplace can’t afford to go without a live website. With Kentico Windows 8 Manager, developed by Microsoft partner Bit-Wizards to allow site administrators access to their CMS installation, a site that experiences a hiccup can be up and running before cruising altitude.
  • Check items off the to-do list. For those feverishly working to finish that PowerPoint presentation or send those last few emails, the extra time to use portable electronics can be a lifesaver. Our OEMs are designing cool tablets running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT—compliant under the new FAA regulations—which offer the option of running full versions of Microsoft Office.

Customers who travel for business want to have access to their lives on the ground, even when they’re in the air. With new freedom to use devices on aircraft, I encourage you to think about how your own business could reach new heights with a mobile focus.

Nov2012_TwittericonConnect with me on Twitter @Jenni_Flinders and share your ideas!

Comments
  • Great post. I agree with you in that I also love to travel and meet with customers and partners. I'm glad to see Microsoft and the partner community (and a few non-traditional partners ... e.g. Avis) are getting in on the effort. I prefer NOT to be connected in the air. An airplane seat is one of the last three bastions of Thinking. As I have written and spoken about before "WiFi in the Sky" is inevitable. However, I do hope Microsoft and the vendors that make products to work on the Microsoft platform consider the need for an "offline productivity experience" too. Productivity is NOT defined by Connectivity.

  • Hello, In this post, I was illustrating that there is a new opportunity to think about some of the most tech savvy customers, frequent travelers. As one of those customers, I believe having the choice to be connected anywhere along my travels allows me to be more productive. With that in mind, I am excited to see new device form factors and rich services from our dedicated partner community that enables great experiences during transit. - Jenni

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  • I realize that some people will leap at the opportunity to remain "connected" at all times to their digital life. If that is what they want then I am happy that they can now do so in flight within the limitations of the new FAA rules. There is, however, a need for us to disconnect at times in order to refresh both the body, the mind and the soul. In your enthusiasm to promote Microsoft's mobile focus it would be refreshing to see you provide some sage words of advice about not being overly connected at all times. I'm sorry to say that this article to me reads like a recipe for needlessly wring out every ounce of blood from a corporate employee when they travel. Although you embrace this opportunity, you really need to check the research that's available concerning how the push for people to be constantly connected to a digital life is affecting a person's ability to actually have a life, one that they find worthwhile. You might change your own focus once you have taken the time to really ponder that issue.

  • I realize that some people will leap at the opportunity to remain "connected" at all times to their digital life. If that is what they want then I am happy that they can now do so in flight within the limitations of the new FAA rules. There is, however, a need for us to disconnect at times in order to refresh both the body, the mind and the soul. In your enthusiasm to promote Microsoft's mobile focus it would be refreshing to see you provide some sage words of advice about not being overly connected at all times. I'm sorry to say that this article to me reads like a recipe for needlessly wring out every ounce of blood from a corporate employee when they travel. Although you embrace this opportunity, you really need to check the research that's available concerning how the push for people to be constantly connected to a digital life is affecting a person's ability to actually have a life, one that they find worthwhile. You might change your own focus once you have taken the time to really ponder that issue.

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