By Peter K. Han, Microsoft Vice President of US OEM

imageYou might have trouble getting hold of certain customers come mid-January, but don’t assume they’re on vacation just because they’re not in the office. In fact, many of them will be working hard, networking and selling their businesses on the floors of the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Convention & Expo. And their need to connect and conduct business even while away from their offices represents a significant opportunity for many partners.

Strong mobile solutions can be a huge asset for attendees of these trade shows, essentially allowing them to take their physical offices with them wherever they go and maximize time at events. Microsoft partners are uniquely prepared to support these customers, and I’m excited about the wave of new devices certified for Windows 8.1 hitting the marketplace.

imageThe Nokia 1520 “phablet” is one of those devices and the combination of its ease-of-use and power has blown me away. I travel extensively for industry events and partner meetings, so I can vouch for how indispensable a nimble but robust mobile device like this is for keeping me connected to the office while “away.” It features all the business tools I need—and your customers would want—to work remotely and effectively: a large screen making it easy to edit Office documents while on the go, and integration with SharePoint, Outlook, and all other major email platforms, letting me collaborate with others on those documents. Additionally, apps like Kayak, American Airlines, Avis, and Sheraton allow me to manage travel details at my fingertips.

imageMany of your customers may be seasoned trade show attendees, but they may not be aware of how much more they could accomplish while walking the floor or attending sessions. Now is the perfect time to introduce them to portable and lightweight yet powerful devices—like the Nokia 1520—that can help them do more at CES, NRF, or any other can’t-miss events this year. imageOther Windows 8.1-powered devices you should familiarize yourself with include the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch Ultrabook (an incredibly light device with a streamlined browsing and scrolling interface), and the ASUS Transformer Book T100 (with 11-hour battery life for all-day mobility at the show, plus dual functionality as a tablet or as a laptop with a keyboard dock).

With major trade shows on the horizon, it’s a great time to talk with your customers about how technology can create a more productive out-of-office experience for them.

imageI’d love to hear more about the ways you and your customers are using devices to keep business running while out of the office. Follow me on Twitter @PeterHanMSFT to share your ideas.