Yesterday at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Hewlett Packard (HP) put on an event called The Art of Small Business. The purpose was to announce several new products and partnerships for the small business market.
I attended the event and as you probably could guess from the name, the theme was about art. What might not be so obvious is the connection between business and art.
HP used the word “art” to refer to small businesses. In the words of Satjiv Chahil, Senior VP of Marketing at HP, “small business is a fine art that combines passion and expertise.”
But you also could say that art is a metaphor for HP’s approach to designing new products for small businesses. HP announced 12 new products. What struck me about the products is how much HP has done to take the geek out of computers. More features, but easier to use, is how I would describe the offerings.
For instance, one of the new products is a desktop computer with a built-in backup system that automatically backs up your data. The backup consists of a second hard drive. The whole thing is factory-installed, so you don’t have to mess around buying and installing a separate back-up solution. You don’t have to remember to do anything to back up your files, either — the system backs itself up every time you turn it on. The only extra cost involved is the cost of a second hard drive, which could be as little as $75 extra. We all know we should back up data, but most of us don’t have IT staff and we don’t want to take time away from running our businesses to do data backups. So we just don’t back up — until something happens and we risk losing all our data. This new computer makes it so we don’t have to do anything or even think about backing up our data — it’s done for us.
Another new offering is a laptop that automatically encrypts your data. Data encryption is another of those security measures that experts tell us we should do. But few small businesses I know actually do encryption — probably because we don’t have a clue how to encrypt files. With this laptop, your data is encrypted automatically without you having to do anything. Then if the laptop happens to be stolen from your car, at least your data would be protected from unauthorized people.
Other promising offerings announced include an automatic online backup service at about $12 a month. There is also a feature called Total Care which is a dashboard that lets you monitor the health of your computer or put it on auto pilot.
HP is designing new products that minimize or eliminate the need for business owners to install complicated extras, or take action, or even have to think about the systems. They are making computers easier to use in our businesses, for those of us who want to run our businesses and not have to play IT person.