How Smartphones Are Competing With Computers In The Contemporary Workspace

Written by Shaan Khan (20 Oct 2019)

Communication is key; workspaces are powered by it. Extract, create, cooperate and personalise; all the factors of productive communication. Accommodating the process; is technology—the tool for information design and database management.

Technology enhances our network of interaction; 3D contextual messages can be disseminated to the masses at any given time or place. In the workspace, we are conscious of cultural expectations, and we know the quality of work is dependent on the ability to communicate between colleagues, consumers and audiences.

The re-imagining of telephone and computer technology had paved the way for smartphone devices. As now, the leading share in the technological market; the industry has made huge leaps in the development of small and compact computer chips and components; modelled for smartphones, without any significant drawbacks in power.

Now, the more power our technology upholds; the more enhancements our communications receive. Well if computers and their components are more powerful in comparison to smartphones—why should we care for the future of smartphones in the workplace?

Well, smartphones might always live in the shadows of computers in terms of performance. But what smartphones have up their sleeves is the unique features in which a computer innately doesn’t have, and it’s gained power over the years through aggressive development cycles is only bringing more functionality to a smartphone which is out-competing traditional desktops and laptops.

Features that makes smartphones stand out from the rest of the crowd of technologies, include: portability, digitally advanced camera technology, built-in support for virtual reality, tap-to-pay purchases, navigation tracking and positioning via gyroscope technology, a variety of exclusive apps—and oh yeah, a useful flashlight to help you see in the dark.

In light of its unique features and overall functionality compared to computers; I hope to provide you with some tips to unlock your fullest potential to using your smartphones productively within the 2019 workspace.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office is a staple-point of productivity in communication, it has almost completely replaced the paper and pen; whether you plan to write a book, a script for a play or produce a presentation for an event—there is countless amount of reasons to why you would use apps such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel. They are absolute necessities in most workspaces, and its application over the years has almost exclusively been conducted through the means of PC’s and Laptops in which run windows or mac OS.

But Microsoft has steadily made efforts in branching out their Office services to smartphone users. At first, the mobile version seemed to be lacklustre in many aspects compared to the computer versions, for instance, limitations in features, lack of seamless transferability between documents from mobile to computer and poor viewing experiences due to small displays.

Well firstly, the industry direction to producing larger screens has to an extent, alleviated issues with the viewing experience, and as most phone displays today present high-density pixels and up to 2k resolutions as the new standard; most phones will provide you with clear & crisp text and images to view comfortably from your small phones.

Improvements in performance and optimisation has made the typing and operating experience of the app feel more fluid and responsive; in return, Microsoft has been implementing more features to their apps without concerns of performance bottlenecking, i.e. instability that causes the app to lag or crash.

Outside of smartphone design innovations; in 2016, Microsoft revised its system of service in light of cloud computing—they call it ‘Office 365’. What the service entails, is that for either a monthly or quarterly based subscription, you have access to a range of Office products; including premium versions of the mobile and PC editions.

Compared to purchasing standalone products with one-time payments, this premium service is consistently updated with new features; outdoing their other products. With this service, your work conducted on either the PC or mobile versions, are saved on the cloud, allowing you to access your documents and continue working on them on either your smartphone or computer at any given time.

In the workspace, this speaks wonders in productivity. The premium Office apps on mobile include many of the popular features of the computer version to produce high-standard pieces of work. Portability and cloud computing play a considerable role in its advantage, since as we know, deadlines for projects trump our typical working hours in the office, sometimes those moments you spend on the toilet browsing social media on your break, could now be used in a more productive sense by accessing your office apps and completing the work in which you so desperately need to get done before your deadlines.

Multimedia Production

At one point, for multimedia production, one would’ve had to acquire high-performance computers, top-of-the-line DSLR camera’s & cutting-edge monitors hosting high colour accuracy & pixel counts.

Well, smartphones are the all-in-one machine; you’ve got your camera, screen & apps for multimedia production.

However, it’s quite an understatement at best, to say that over the years, smartphones have nowhere near been reputable enough to be considered as replacements of the professional equipment in multimedia production of today’s standards. But, it’s not crazy to pit them up against some of the latest smartphones out there once you take a peek under there hoods and see what they’re working with.

Camera:

In terms of camera, well, they might be beat in raw picture quality compared to traditional camera’s, but what they lack—they compensate with various innovations such as ever-evolving-digital-processing to capture an image with as much realistic detail as possible and multi-lens arrays to accommodate an assortment of viewing angles to best capture the picture you wish to take.

Take a look at the new iPhone 11 Pro’s’ camera for instance, it includes an impressive night mode, also, not one but three rear-camera lenses offering in-built ‘zoom-in’, ‘wide’ and ‘ultra-wide’ angle lenses that boast lossless quality; comparable to lenses equipped to DSLR cameras, but to the Pro’s advantage in terms of convenience—it doesn’t require the additional add-ons of physical lenses to be applied to the camera.

Some other benefits of the digital camera include the array of multi-lenses in combinational use; offer unique computational photography which provides further detail of a photograph captured with each lens in unison; allowing for dynamic range and low-light shooting. Also, a high dynamic range mode (HDR) that furthers the detailing process of an image with the use of one lens capturing three of the same image, then with that information, the digital processing selectively targets parts of the image with the greatest detail and inputs it into one final picture that is the most accurate depiction of real-life in which you captured with your camera.

The camera software and autonomous lens manipulation as a whole has made professional levels of camera shooting’ intuitive to replicate without the needs of pain-staking research and practise. So, get rid of the ‘Professional Filming & Photography for Dummies’ book, and simply open up your camera app on your phone then pick & play with the variety of pre-sets available on the app with clear descriptions of how the camera will perform in response and what they are best used for. Some modes you may encounter as I did in my Galaxy S9, include: Food, Night, Panorama, Pro, Selective Focus, Slow Motion and even Super Slo-mo!

Display:

High resolution, OLED, HDR screens are the new craze in professional setups; they provide users with ‘real-life colour accuracy, sharpness and detail’. However, the size of the screen real estate determines the price; in this case, favouring a smartphone over a monitor, making the screens inexpensive to mass produce and own in comparison to the latter.

Not only is cost-effectiveness an advantage; in this case, portability also plays another huge role; now portability might not seem so great when factoring in the impact of daytime lighting that hinders are viewing of the screen as the brightness is masked by the superior sunlight that reflects onto it. But, the phones of today no longer run into this issue and in fact, you may find that many of the latest smartphones will put your laptop displays and monitors to shame when judging their brightness in a side by side comparison; just take a look at how my Galaxy s9 stacked up against my Dell XPS 13.

Check out this impressive pic of the latest iPhone 11 screen brightness compared to the Note 10 in the day-time; you can be outdoors in the sun, editing your images at a professional standard, no need to squint and strain your eyes!

Editing:

It has always been such a disappointment to me witnessing the low-par editing tools for videos and images on smartphones. I always hoped for the day where I wouldn’t stretch out projects through bouncing between different equipment and allocating separate time slots of their use—for instance, taking high detailed pictures with my camera then having to suffer the slow wait of transferring my videos onto a computer then finally start editing them with professional software such as Adobe Premiere Pro.

It truly would be a game-changer once you are handed the convenience to use your smartphone, to both; capture high-quality images and videos, and then instantaneously edit them with a fully-fledged production app that offers a professional standard of editing as found in the many Adobe Desktop software’s.

Well it seems that software developers have recognised this calling within the consumer-base and due to the vast developments in smartphone performance—have now began releasing multimedia production apps that host a wide assortment of editing tools and even Adobe themselves, have entered the arena with the release of mobile editions of their desktop apps; taking a page from Microsoft’s book.

Let’s take a look at Adobe’s mobile version of Premiere Pro; it is called ‘Premiere Clip’ and unlike its desktop counterpart—it’s free. This video editing app hosts many tools founded on the desktop version, such as the functions of trimming and cutting a video, also being able to apply transitions, filters, music, effects and so on.

A unique feature to this app is the ability to have your clips edited and stitched into a video automatically based on the clips you order it to edit and transform into a video; offering you an efficient way of production that saves you ample amounts of time in comparison to using your computer for editing.

Therefore, in the workspace, you can now find yourself using your phone to create professional edits without limitations in creative input, also the option of pushing out large quantities of videos without any huge drawbacks in time management.

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