Just a few years ago, technophiles raved that a wireless world of electronic devices lay ahead. Well, in case you haven't noticed, that time is now.
To help readers make sense of this new reality, we surveyed Hispanic senior executives from an array of industries about those wireless devices that have become indispensable to the running of their everyday lives.
Lizabeth Ardisana, CEO of ASG Renaissance (number 148 on the Hispanic Business 500®), a communications and technical support firm in Southfield, Michigan, confesses to being a technology junkie. She owns a cell phone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), and a laptop computer.
"Without a cell phone I don't think I could survive either professionally or personally," she says. "Without a cell phone I wouldn't be able to keep up with my business."
Ms. Ardisana uses a Nokia 6360, a step up in terms of size from her previous cell phone. She decided to super-size her cell phone because, as a self-described cell phone "abuser," she wanted a phone with a longer battery life. The Nokia 6360 comes with a lithium ion battery that provides as much as five hours of digital talk time on a single charge. Her Nokia phone, which comes with electronic paging and voicemail, has allowed her to discard the pager she once carried.
Talking to oneself used to be a sign of mental illness. Now it's more likely to signal a cell phone user wearing an earpiece with a built-in microphone. Ms. Ardisana admits to using a hands-free earpiece for convenience, safety, and health concerns.
"I do think there's a concern when you use a cell phone as much as I do," says Ms. Ardisana, who suffers from breast cancer and is concerned about a possible link between cell phone use and brain cancer. "The earpiece gives you two hands free and lets you avoid having the phone next to your head," she says.
Wireless headsets are still fairly new to the market and Ms. Ardisana hasn't tried one yet. Like other headset users, she says she would be thrilled to use a cordless headset because it would make movement even easier. But for proper use, she says, the reception would have to be clear.
Patricia Pliego Stout, CEO of The Alamo Travel Group in San Antonio (ranking 74th on the Hispanic Business 500), owns three cell phones. Her daughter keeps one and she has the other two - one for business and one for personal calls.
"I can be in contact with my office and with my family all the time, immediately," she says. She uses two cell phones because she wants to be able to answer calls from her family right away and doesn't want to tie up her business phone with personal calls.
She also uses two service providers that offer different roaming charges so that she can choose the cheapest plan when placing a long-distance domestic or international call. And, at times, one phone offers better reception than the other, she points out.
Personal calls are handled with the Nokia 1261, while business calls come in on the Nokia 3590. The Nokia 1261 provides text and picture messaging and e-mail, sends and receives business cards, and has a phonebook that can accommodate information for as many as 200 contacts. The Nokia 3590, meanwhile, offers voice dialing for as many as 10 numbers, uses a browser to retrieve text from the Internet, and provides up to 6.5 hours of talk time.
Ms. Pliego Stout also uses the BellSouth Wireless E-Mail Service and the Motorola T900 two-way device that comes with it. With the T900, she can send and receive text messages between other two-way devices, some cell phones, and computers and PDAs with e-mail capabilities. Although she enjoys it, she admits to not being up to speed yet on the T900.
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