Mobile Data Now: Mobile Data Retrieval Software for Small Businesses





Mobile Data Now is a software application that allows you, your employees, and even the general public, to get quick access to information contained in your company databases while outside the office.

The way it works is you download a piece of software. Then configure it to allow messaging access to your existing database (SQL, MySQL, Microsoft Access, Oracle, etc.).

Then you, your employees or anyone else you choose can retrieve data using a mobile phone, Blackberry or similar mobile device. The data exchange is done through email, instant message, or text messaging (SMS).

This screen grab from the Mobile Data Now website, explains how it works:

Mobile Data Now allows retrieval of business data from mobile devices

A trend we are living through today is “mobile data convergence” or “Web and mobile convergence.” One aspect of that convergence for small businesses is that we’re getting closer and closer to being able to provide and retrieve key business data from mobile devices.

Some of us are already dipping our toes in the water — and we like it! Today we can pretty easily access our calendars and contacts from mobile devices. For instance, with the iPhone and Blackberry devices you can sync up your Outlook Contacts and Calendar. Heck, I can even do that on my iTouch. I have all my Outlook Contacts on my iTouch, and when I am about to go out of town, I sync up my Outlook Calendar to iTouch, too.

But imagine being able to expand that kind of access. What if I could get information from an Access database containing all my industry contacts (which are too numerous to gum up Outlook with)? Or if I could get access while out of the office to the MySQL databases that run some of my websites?

Large companies have spent mega bucks to custom program that kind of mobile access. But what if you could get access as a small business without custom programming? Mobile Data Now avoids the custom programming and the associated expense and time.

Recently I spoke with Nick Bolton, the company CEO from their Christchurch, New Zealand headquarters. He tells me that today the company is introducing a reseller program. It is actively seeking value-added resellers (VARs) and integrators around the world to distribute the software. They already have some resellers lined up, including Canada and the Middle East, but are looking for resellers in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The suggested retail price is $150 (USD) per user per year. Resellers get to purchase the software at a 40% discount and it is a recurring revenue stream. According to Nick Bolton, an example of an ideal reseller might be a consulting firm or integrator that sells CRM solutions.

But you can set up a single user for free.

Interesting little backstory about the company: It was founded in 2001. Originally it attempted to do something similar using a Web browser. Nick Bolton, the current CEO, bought the company for $1. He changed the focus to using messaging (email or texting or instant messaging) to retrieve the information, instead of a Web browser.

Looks promising because the solution is simple. Small businesses need more simple solutions if we are truly to be able to work mobilely. And considering that more people in the world have mobile devices than have laptops, it makes sense to get that access through handheld devices.

6 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

6 Reactions
  1. Impressive. Technology is making it so easy to stay connected no matter where you are. Never having to worry about forgetting something when you go out the door is a huge bonus.

  2. Hi Amanda,

    As time goes on, the ability to port data to mobile devices is going to go from a “nice to do” to a “need to do.”

    I think applications like this that let you do that quickly and easily are pretty important for small businesses.

    Anita

  3. That’s absolutely amazing. You know, it’s technology like this that will help many find the elusive work/life balance that they are so desperately seeking. Having spent many years cooped up inside cubicles and offices myself, I am now thankful to be working from home. And I must say that I am much more focused and productive in this atmosphere (outside of an office environment) and I even spend longer hours doing so. Too many distractions exist within one and I think that the more people can get themselves out of those situations and into productive more flexible work situations – the more productive they become. With all of the office politics, personality clashes, cliques, ringing telephones, water cooler discussions and gossip – there were days I dreaded even going into the office. Had nothing to do with work. Had everything to do with distractions that shouldn’t have mattered. But when your caught up in those situations, they do affect you AND your work. Very glad not to be in that environment anymore and very glad to see products and services such as this in place to help us all lead more relaxed, productive and efficient healthy lifestyles.

  4. Martin Lindeskog

    Is this an extension of what a smartphone could do? The next thing is to integrate a GPS with a RDIF / bar code and get information on the spot.

  5. Technology like this makes life wonderfully flexible. I really like being able to get something done wherever & whenever I need to. And it’s a nice bonus not to be tied to my desk.

  6. Hi Martin, this is additional functionality over and above what a smartphone delivers on its own.

    As I understand it, this software allows you to query your databases back at the home office. It doesn’t matter what kind of device you use — it is hardware independent (I think that is one of the beauties of it). You can use this service as long as you can send a short text message or get access to IM or email. Even a basic mobile phone today is going to let you at least send SMS text messages or connect to IM. Something like a Blackberry or iPhone or smartphone will allow you to do email, too.

    The RFID/bar code capabilities — that is something completely different. At a minimum, for that you’d need an RFID-reader or bar code reader in your hand held device for that. And then you’d need to be connected to a database that had the RFID tag or barcode data in it.

    Anita

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