3 productivity-boosting apps tech teams should download now

Improve focus, improve your understanding of complex industries like oil and gas and spot network vulnerabilities earlier


Summer is coming to a close and many people look to the oncoming business high-season determined to work smarter, get ahead and help their workplaces blast the competition. Communications technologies can help people achieve their productivity goals—especially in this age of the app, with hundreds of thousands of productivity-boosting programs available for tablets and smartphones. Here are a handful of powerful mobile apps for technology decision makers and their non-tech clients.

1. Concentrate

Pay attention! Many people find it difficult to focus and work productively. So many blogs to read, so little time… Time-management apps can help. Focus Time, for example, combines a timer and the Pomodoro time-management technique to help users concentrate. Pomodoro divides tasks into 25-minute work sessions with five-minute breaks in between and a 15-minute break after four work sessions. Focus Time tracks users’ minutes and sounds an alarm when it’s time either for a break or to begin another task. Users on iTunes give it 4.5 out of 5 stars on average. Many say they like that the app itself is focused on a single task: time management—no to-do list function or other additional features. Even at $4.99, Focus Time is a bargain.

Focus Time app screenshot

2. Define success

Want to understand the difference between “crosswell electromagnetic tomography” and “crosswell reflection tomography”? No? Granted, it isn’t the sort of thing everyone needs to know. But if you’re in the oil and gas business, you might. Every industry has its own language—words and phrases specific to the sector. Seasoned employees and newcomers alike sometimes need quick reference guides in order to brush up on industry vocabulary. A few thoughtful developers have created powerful reference apps for particular businesses. In oil and gas, for example, the Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary provides quick definitions verified by industry experts. Marc Healy, head of international business and marketing at software provider D4H Technologies, says the glossary “can propel your understanding of the industry by making otherwise unattainable lingo accessible.” (For more oil and gas apps see D4H’s blog post on that very subject.)

Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary screenshot

3. Lock IT down

This one’s for your tech team—and it’s something of a double-edged sword. Network Toolbox lets users analyze local and public networks for security issues and improper configurations. It offers IP and port scanning, and incorporates the Shodan scan engine, which identifies specific types of devices attached to a network. The app is useful for IT managers whose jobs involve ensuring their corporate networks are safe and secure. Unfortunately, the app may also prove powerful for black-hat hackers looking to crack into improperly locked data transit systems. Network managers should get their hands on this $3.99 app before the bad guys do. Users give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Network Toolbox app screenshot

These and other apps will help end users and technology professionals tackle the inevitably heavy workloads and high expectations that come with the end of the summer season. Stay tuned for news of more productivity-enhancing programs for specific business sectors and processes.

Top image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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