Financial planningTechnology

Technology offers opportunity

By October 17, 2017 March 5th, 2018 No Comments

“In the current climate, it’s incredibly important for our private wealth-management business to be mobile and truly global.”

Up your multi-tasking game with the new Samsung Galaxy S8. Here’s what happened when I tried all of the features…*

I recently unboxed a new Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung DeX workstation dock. With the new tech in the palm of my hand, it got me to thinking about mobile phones, how they’ve changed, and what they represent and offer in today’s working environment. 

In truth, I’ve long been fascinated by mobile phones. My first job out of university was at a small start-up operation that had just been granted an Australian telecommunications licence. Mobile telephony was in its infancy and employees in the firm numbered in the tens.

The future was bright and it was digital

The rapidly growing company I joined was Vodafone and my passion for mobile phones began. At Vodafone we were pushing the benefits of digital phones over the then dominant analogue offerings. Two-minute phone calls were our staple product; SMS texts were a novelty more than anything else; and other data services? Well, they were non-existent. Business users were the target market as clunky, brick-sized mobile phones were priced out of reach for most people. 

From little things big things grow

As Vodafone grew my roles and experience changed with it. At one point, I worked in ‘plastic roaming’ – mobile roaming abroad didn’t exist as we know it today. Back then, we’d give users a UK Vodafone SIM card so they could travel with that. It was clunky but it worked. 

In the network links business at Vodafone, I was the only non-engineer to attend an engineering course on designing cellular networks. I analysed the cost effectiveness of linking network cells to the exchange via microwave or leased fixed-line transmissions. 

My final role at Vodafone was in ‘interconnect’, analysing the finances of all traffic passed to and from every other telecommunications company. Without interconnect it’s impossible to call people on other networks, here or abroad. 

Later in my career at Deutsche Bank in London, I returned to telecoms. As an equity sell-side telecoms analyst, I came full circle when the biggest company I followed was Vodafone worldwide. So it’s fair to say I get mobile phones.

Technology offers opportunity

Back to my Samsung unboxing… As I excitedly took my new phone out of its packaging, I saw much more than just a phone. I saw an incredible array of infrastructure behind the scenes delivering the network service. I saw complicated billing and roaming systems that make the voice and data service seamless. And most importantly, for me now as a business owner, I saw a world of opportunity. 

Truly global mobility

In the current climate, it’s incredibly important for our private wealth-management business to be mobile and truly global. We’re following international markets, our clients are continually travelling and with our extensive commitments we also travel ourselves. 

When abroad I’m conscious of a few things: I need to pack and travel light, so space is at a premium. I need power quickly and have to be able to set up a virtual office in a hotel room, coffee shop or airport lounge at a moment’s notice. I need to assess markets and contact clients on the go… There’s a lot to consider. However with all these needs, I’m also very conscious that plane and airport security standards are increasing and laptops are becoming more problematic, especially with regards to travel to and from the US. 

These easy-access, plug-in, non-cumbersome, remote-friendly features are what I’m looking for when it comes to technology. Technology that allows me to provide the same excellent service to my clients no matter where I’m based or where my clients are. 

Work without limits

I recently returned from work meetings in London after a lovely side trip with my wife across to the Greek Islands. In September I’m in New York and Chicago for conferences and meetings on Wall Street. I get around. Seamless mobility is incredibly important in my business – I’m forever in need of a mobile office in my daypack.

The Samsung DeX workstation dock effectively converts my mobile phone into an desktop computer, wherever I am. I can dock the phone and hook the hub up to power, then log into a TV screen or monitor in my hotel room (via HDMI cord). The Ethernet port is perfect for data if I don’t want to use my mobile data roaming and the built-in fan even keeps my phone cool while docked. I use one USB port to connect my bluetooth mouse and keyboard and the other USB port to connect my external hard drive and I’m good to go. 

Although I travel with my external hard drive out of habit, with the Galaxy S8 I’m not even sure I need it anymore. The phone has 64GB standard file storage and with an additional 256GB on a removable micro SD, mobility is even lighter than before.

Travelling with the Galaxy S8 means that if I choose to leave my laptop behind, or new airport and plane security gives me no choice, I can be up and running independently when I arrive at any destination. What’s more, I’m already set up with a solid business solution for web browsing, email, writing, and other standard work tasks. It really does make productivity that achievable. 

Productivity boost – Oh snap!

Since my days in investment banking, I’ve found it productive to work with multiple screens. It means I can access client, market and portfolio data all at the same time when making decisions. 

The Galaxy S8 has a useful feature called Snap Window, which allows me to view two apps at once on the same screen. In my hand I can simultaneously view client data, while also placing trades on our market-trading platform. It’s outstanding stuff. 

My 12-year-old daughter’s first thought was that she could use the function to look at Instagram and Snapchat at the same time. I love the multi-window offering, but as a parent I’m not convinced this is the best use of the functionality. 

Video killed the radio star

Short videos, shared with our clients are becoming increasingly important in our business. Previously, if something significant happened in the markets, my team and I would spend hours calling clients one by one, to explain what it meant for them. Now, we can share this information – in real time – to clients all at once, via video reports and a blog summary. 

We’ve developed an internal process for filming short two-to-three minute client videos, both in our office and on location and have tinkered with professional video cameras and sound equipment in the past. The thing is, we keep coming back the simple effectiveness of filming on a mobile phone with a wired lapel microphone. 

When I tested the new Samsung video capabilities next to my most recent phone, however? I was blown away. The improvement in quality; the resolution of the video; the sound and light… they all just popped. 

Beyond the benefits of Samsung DeX’s mobility, the advanced video function in the Galaxy S8 is where I see the greatest opportunity for our business. And that’s not even all there is to like…

To infinity and beyond

While I was catching some R&R in the Greek Islands, I was struck by the similarity of the infinity pool in our hotel and my new infinity phone screen (and let’s face it, water doesn’t get any crisper than in the Greek Islands!). Both views are visually pleasing and easily merge into their surrounds, but the phone is also aesthetically on point – or so says my 12-year-old daughter who thinks it “looks cool!” 

Photo source: Azzurro Suites Santorini; Samsung

To be fair, I have to agree. But I also see a practical benefit to the infinity display. The option to customise the edge panel allows me to access my client contacts and most regularly used market-trading apps quickly and easily. 

All work and no play is no way to live

As a new Samsung phone owner, in truth I’m still getting to grips with many of the amazing benefits. Which is equally fun and informative. One non-work related feature I discovered over a vino, and found pretty cool, was Bixby Vision. I pointed the camera at a bottle of wine and it told me what the wine was and where it was from, how it rated and even what food I should pair it with. It’s an impressive tool, which when you break it down, sums up the Galaxy S8 and its new friends. You’ll rethink mobility, productivity and the ability to multi-task with this mobile phone. 

* This article was commissioned by Samsung Electronics.

Check out my video produced in partnership with the Samsung Galaxy S8 here:

The Independent Financial Advisor

About The Independent Financial Advisor

My name is Tim Mackay and I am The Independent Financial Advisor. I advise pre-retirees and retirees on how to manage their family's wealth and to fund their dream retirement.

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