Tech Tools: Lead on the Go


Double Robotics Telepresence Robot


If you want to win the award for creepiest boss, invest in a telecommuting robot. This “telepresence” two-wheeled machine ($2,499) from Double Robotics is basically a roving iPad dock. Videoconference into the iPad, and the robot can roll you around the office as if you’re really there. Conduct walking meetings or inspections, or just casually roam around, peeping at your employees’ computer screens over their shoulders.


Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920


If you’re serious about videoconferencing, you need to upgrade from the cloudy camera that’s embedded in your laptop monitor. The Logitech Pro Webcam C920 ($99.99) streams such clear, full-high-definition video that your colleague will be able to see the mustard stain on your shirt during your Skype call. That’s not such a great feature if it’s first thing in the morning and you have bags under your eyes, but it’s perfect for when you need to hold up text or photos; the camera sharply focuses in on images as close as 10 centimeters from the lens. The webcam can also be used as—surprise!—a video camera and can be mounted to a tripod. Use it to record widescreen, professional-quality movies for your company’s YouTube channel or to document your trips.


Jawbone Era


Bluetooth headsets are today’s pocket protectors: Wear one, and you’re automatically a dork. Jawbone is trying to change that perception with its Era headset ($129.99); its sleek and shiny design is only about as obtrusive as a hair barrette. The wireless headset features military-grade noise cancellation, so you could take a call from the middle of Grand Central Terminal and still hear over the background noise. But Bluetooth isn’t just for phone calls anymore. Wear Era while biking and ask Siri for real-time directions, listen to a podcast while grocery shopping, or even make audio to-do lists while running on the treadmill.


Kensington PresentAir Pro Bluetooth 4.0 LE Presenter


You’ve heard of an outfit going from work to evening—but a laser pointer? Kensington’s PresentAir Pro Bluetooth wireless presenter ($59.99) has so many features you can get just as much done in your hotel room as in the office. Use the red laser pointer to click between PowerPoint slides during a presentation, as a stylus for your tablet to edit text and adjust your computer settings, or as a remote control to queue up your favorite Netflix show and adjust its volume.

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Adobe Connect


Adobe’s web-conferencing software, Connect (starting at $45 per month), has all of the functionality you’d expect from the company that makes Photoshop. Connect allows 100  people—on PCs, tablets or phones—to interact in a webinar or training session at one time: They can share animations, annotate text and even access one another’s desktops (with permission). Plus the program records and archives everything that happens on the screen. When you play it back, you can actually interact with the multimedia—click on the links and copy text. Think this could become a part of your business? Time to add your personalized meeting-room URL to your business card. 


D-Link WiFi AC750 Portable Router and Charger


Most portable Wi-Fi hotspots are compatible with only a single phone carrier such as Verizon or AT&T. D-Link’s AC750 travel router and charger ($99.99) can connect to devices on any network, letting them share Wi-Fi or even 3G/4G LTE connections. This comes in handy at hotels that charge you for Internet usage per digital device. The router also acts as a mobile charger for your phones and tablets, giving you an additional sense of power security. Its built-in USB ports allow you to share files locally from a USB drive to anything within range.


Alyson Sheppard is a writer and editor based in Dallas. Her work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, Maxim, National Geographic Adventure and more.

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