It's been a rough two years, but now there's light at the end of the tunnel. World Health Organisation executives have said that the Omicron virus could move Europe towards a pandemic endgame. While we shouldn't let our guard down, there's hope that the focus will move towards minimising disruption as the world tries to find some equilibrium.
That could see opportunities for business travel grow again over time. With that in mind, here are some useful technologies that might help busy executives ease back into a life of airline seats and hotel rooms after a long period on the ground.
Unless your executive has a compute-intensive job like graphic design or engineering, they'll probably value portability over horsepower. A hybrid tablet like the Surface Pro will fit easily into their bag and give them access to their work in a plane or train seat.
Executives might need access on the go to a large trove of files - or a trove of large files, such as video or high-resolution photos. That's where portable storage comes in.
A portable USB-powered hard drive can hold terabytes of files while tucked away safely in a hotel safe. It can also plug into a computer at the employee's destination if they are visiting another of your company's offices and policy permits it.
Even with today's low-powered, energy-efficient devices it's still easy to be caught on the hop with an ailing battery. A hard day of leafing through emails or working on presentations can leave your phone and laptop exhausted.
Portable power banks are there to pick up the slack. These devices come in various formats, from small-footprint units with just enough juice to top your phone up through to powerhouses that can charge a whole laptop. Some of these devices can even juice multiple devices - one via a plug, and one wirelessly.
Noise cancelling headset
Headsets help travelling executives to handle calls and participate in videoconferences without subjecting themselves and their colleagues to background interference. To do the job, choose one that includes active noise cancelling technology, analyzing external sounds and producing dynamic sound waves that neutralize them. Some also use this to digital wizardry to cancel out background noise from your microphone while you're talking. They're perfect for noisy coffee shops, or for blocking out that obnoxious loud talker in front of you on the plane.
Stuck without Wi-Fi coverage while travelling, or unsure that you want to connect to a public Wi-Fi network? You can tether your laptop to a personal hotspot on your phone to use your cellular connection but that means running down your phone's battery. An alternative is a dedicated mobile personal hotspot.
These devices are portable battery-powered units that allow connections from multiple portable devices at a time. You buy them with a separate contract giving them their own data allowance, and they often include pay-as-you-go plans.
Carriers such as Vodafone are already offering 5G hotspots with Wi-Fi 6 capability, guaranteeing a fast connection. If you're travelling with a party of colleagues and need to set up an ad hoc connected workspace, you'll be a hero with one of these.
If you need to scan documents while on your travels, mobile phone scanning apps will do the job in a pinch. Their quality relies on ambient light and your ability to hold your phone steady, though, meaning that the end result might be less than perfect.
For a more robust solution, pick up a mobile scanner. These stick-like units have their own built-in light and connect to your computer via USB. You can buy models that feed documents through a slot or others that unfold into desk lamp-like contraptions that can scan documents up to A3 in size.
Even today, you'll often find s dearth of power sockets in an airport or coffee shop. Take your own power strip and you can politely ask the person hogging the last outlet to let you expand its capacity. Modern business-focused units are compact and feature dedicated USB ports too. Pull one of these out of your bag in a busy coffee shop and you'll be everyone's friend. Maybe the other folks who ask to use your spare plugs will even buy you a free brew.