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CHOI Eunjeong

Smart Apps Fit for a CEO

CHOI Eunjeong

Dec. 26, 2012

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Coming on the heels of the ubiquitous smartphone are mobile applications, or apps, that have seen their own explosive growth. The number of apps around the world was estimated at 1.3 million in September this year with downloads exceeding 60 billion. Thus, in just 3 years, apps have become fixtures in our personal and working lives every day.

Go anywhere in Korea and you are likely to see people with their heads buried in their smartphones, passively viewing a video clip, casually tapping out messages, or playing a game. It is easy to catch a glimpse of what the average person is. Not so with corporate chiefs, who travel in chauffeured cars and circulate in elite confines. So, what do they do with their smartphones? Are there any Angry Birds fanatics among them?

To find out, Samsung Economic Research Institute conducted a survey on 268 Korean CEOs regarding their history of applications use and preference. The survey found that the CEOs were quick to leap onto apps and were proficient in using them. About 64% of the CEOs have been using apps for more than two years, and half of them use ten or more apps. As for the purpose, work-related apps were the top choice followed by leisure/daily life, communication, and self-development/general knowledge.

Based on the survey results, there are many recommendable apps for CEOs. But those outside the executive suite can find them just as useful. For example, Evernote is perfect for anyone who needs to write and efficiently take notes in the form of text, web excerpts, photos or voice memos. When the notes are stored, the date, time and location is automatically stored for later editing and comments, and includes a back up service

Another app for CEOs and non-CEOs alike is TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), a nonprofit organization established in 1984 with the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.” The organization holds annual conferences with prestigious guests speakers like former US President Bill Clinton and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The attendance fee is US$6,000 and up. However, with the TED app, users can watch the conferences for free anytime and anywhere. Currently, the service has about 1,300 videos on various subjects including science and technology, arts and culture, business, and humanities and social science. Also, all the videos are only 18 minutes long and come with Korean subtitles.

For those who want a social magazine tailored to their specific needs Flipboard is just the thing. In 2010, Apple named it the ‘iPad App' of the year. Flipboard is a social-network aggregation magazine-format application which collects social media and website contents then selects and shows only the contents that are relevant to the user in a magazine form, under 13 categories, including news and business management. The user experience also simulates flipping the pages of a real magazine.

Tired of incessant spam and telemarketing phone calls? Reach for thecall, which operates on collective intelligence like Wikipedia. When there is call from an unknown number, thecall combs through phone numbers voluntarily compiled by anti-spam netizens. If there is a match, the phone call is blocked. Currently, more than 120,000 telemarketing and voice phishing numbers in Korea are listed.

The survey found that the No. 1 past time of Korea's KOSDAQ CEOs was golf (47%). As such, for these CEOs there is the J Golf's Buddy. This app provides users with news on golf, golf lesson video files and weather information. Users can even make reservations at more than 300 golf clubs in Korea and obtain information on their golf course characteristics and ways to tackle them. The app also measures driving distances and record scores, and even browses for good restaurants in the area.

Another useful app is Linkedin, the world's largest business social networking website. Although fairly new in Korea, it has already emerged at an essential business channel around the globe. Nearly 70% of the Fortune 500 CEOs are Linkedin users. In addition, 82% of Fortune 100 companies use the site for job recruiting. Based on user information from all over the world, the service recommends employers to individuals and prospective business partners to companies.

Of course, before putting any apps on your Christmas shopping list, you should be mindful of a few things. Just because an app has many features it does not mean it is superior as it will only make it more complicated to use and take up more memory space. Also, realize that there are more free apps than not and many do not feature the annoying advertisements we have come to expect. But still be discriminating. Free does not equal good. Try to find apps that have a long history and good reputation.

The column originally appeared on JoongAng Daily
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