HiFi, WiFi, MiFi. Which one do you relate to and why does it matter?

by Marcy Hoffman on March 30, 2011

3 terms, 3 decades.

High fidelity—or hi-fi—reproduction is a term used…. to refer to high-quality reproduction of sound [1]

A Wi-Fi enabled device …..that can connect to the Internet when within range of a wireless network connected to the Internet

MiFi is a line of compact wireless routers …. that act as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. The MiFi can be (an independent device or) connected to a mobile phone (cellular) carrier and provide internet access for up to 5 devices.

Now this is a blog about how cloud computing benefits small business. So what does these terms have to do with your business?

Small business technology is progressing exponentially. It took decades to go from the record player to the iPod but only a few years to go from wireless to MiFi. I remember setting up a businesses a few years back and we needed an army of techs to get it up and running. We had our in house IT team, network specialists to wire the computers and build the server room, cabling experts to cable the computers, bring in a T1 line and then first started with the hardware We had to choose between PCs and MACs because the software we needed didnt’ work on both, buy per seat licenses for our software which we downloaded from cds that came in shrink wrapped packages.

A colleague of mine recently set up her business in 2 days. She bought laptops, smartphones, set up a virtual voice mail system, created an intranet that hosts the companys’ website, email, CRM, project management tools etc. She selected a few industry specific cloud based applications, set up her website, built her contact list and set up the company’s social network pages. The new business was operating with a team of 5, located in 3 different cities in 48 hours.

Many businesses start with a business plan that lays out what the objectives and time lines; many businesses start out with one or two people starting to work and growing ad hoc. Yet even the most well planned companies face the same challenges that the boot strapped ones have: growth spurts. A new contract comes in that takes a company from 2 employees to 10; a company moves to accommodate success and has to build their infrastrucutre as they grow. They simply don’t have the luxury of following the ‘plan’.

This is exactly what happened to Syreeta Saunders-Keys of Keys2Day, a Baltimore located woman owned real estate firm. They started with 2 agents, rapidly grew to 6 and the technology that they started with no longer met their demands. And, surprise to no one, real estate has becoming an increasingly competitive market. As, Ms. Saunders- Keys stated in a recent interview, her business requires her to be in the field, networking, doing business anywhere and at anytime. Technical glitches can cost her business instantly. She began her firm with a couple of computers, contracted with one company for email, another ‘specialty’ company for her website and a 3rd for her email archiving. As they grew, they purchased newer model PCs that were faster but didn’t ‘talk’ to the older ones ( a technical generation gap?) and to get anything fixed she needed to call multiple vendors and when they attempted to add their last hire to the system, it all cam crashing down. Since she had a corporate background, she was familiar with cloud based intranets and was determined to find a single provider to handle it all. Read here for her solution.

How does all this affect her bottom line? Imagine standing with a groups of agents vying for your business.

  • One tells you about a house that is perfect for your needs but they have to drive back to their office, or run to the trunk of their car, to get the information.
  • The 2nd has access on their phone but their network is down but they can email it to you when their system is back up.
  • The 3rd opens their iPad or SmartPhone, shows you data sheet, photos of the house, sets up an appointment to show you the house and sends you a confirmation email- all before you finished your Starbucks.

HiFis may evoke sentimental memories for some of us but we aren’t about to trade in our iPods anytime soon. The agents of Keys2Day aren’t about to go back either.

HiFi, WiFi, Mifi: improved rechnology that makes us work and play smarter, less expensively and with more mobility.

Now what are we going to do with all those plastic spiders we used for our 45 records?


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