Easily Manage Website Passwords

Managing multiple website passwords is one of the more difficult tasks for agency personnel. While tools like Transformation Station and TransactNOW help with this process, there continues to be many sites that your staff goes to daily where each time they have to manually enter User ID and password information.

RoboForm is a tool that can help. I’ve been using it for a while and don’t know how I got along without it!

The program installs as part of your Web browser and manages login and passwords for you. When you log into a website, RoboForm offers to save the online login information into a Passcard after you click the Login/Submit button. The Passcard is saved into a fully encrypted file that requires a master password to access it.

Once the login information page is saved, true one-click login is available by clicking on the website name in the Passcard list. The program automatically navigates to the website’s login page, fills the stored login information into the form, and clicks the submit button. You are logged in with one click.

RoboForm can also complete a form with saved information, such as a contact information form. Your predefined contact information can be populated into a form with just one click.

The free version of RoboForm allows you to have 10 Passcards or less. Upgrading to the Desktop version ($29.95) allows you to save an unlimited number of Passcards and Identities, and comes with unlimited toll-free customer support. Or you could try out the RoboForm Everywhere license for $9.95 for the first year ($19.95 afterwards). The RoboForm Everywhere license allows you to use RoboForm software on all your Windows computers, Macs, and other mobile devices.

IBM Predicts the Next Five Years

IBM Labs has released its 5th annual “Next Five in Five” – a list of innovations with the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next 5 years. The Next Five in Five is based on market and societal trends expected to transform our lives, as well as emerging technologies from IBM Labs around the world that can make these innovations possible.

Their predictions include:

  • Holograms will be a part of our lives. You will be able to beam 3D images to people and talk with them. 3D cameras will be small enough to use with a mobile device. Hosting an online meeting will be very different.
  • The emergence of “citizen scientists” who collect data from sensors in our cars or any physical device that will be added to massive data sets.
  • Batteries that are powered by static energy or even the air we breathe.
  • The heat from data centers may help power cities.
  • Your commute will be personalized. Adaptive traffic systems will intuitively learn behavior.

Here is a 3 1/2 minute video talking about each of the five.

Helping Agents Stay Ahead in the Technology Game

As I travel across the country talking to agents, the question I hear most often is, “Can you just give us a couple quick tips on the top things we can do right now to make our agency more profitable and effective?”

The answer is, YES!

As an insurance technology consultant and editor, I’ve been able to discover the cool new tools, websites, gizmos and gadgets that can make your life easier, more productive, and more competitive.

I have created a new, weekly emailed newsletter — Steve Anderson’s Tech Tip — that will highlight one new “thing” that will help an agency increase productivity and effectiveness: Tech Tip is short, to the point, and quick to read.

After working with literally hundreds of agencies of every shape and size, I’ve come up with what I believe are the best agency technology resources available anywhere.

Is there a charge for Tech Tip? The answer is: NO!

This is my way of supporting agents in these trying economic times — not to mention that I really do love finding the latest gizmos and gadgets that can increase productivity — just ask my wife!

All you have to do to sign up is go to www.SteveAnderson.com and complete the simple Tech Tip subscription form on the right sidebar. Once you verify your email address, you will begin receiving the newsletter every Thursday morning. And, of course, I will never give your name out to anyone and you can unsubscribe at any time.

One more thing: As you begin to get my Tech Tip newsletter, always feel free to email me with comments, new ideas or products that have worked for you. I’ll check them out and spread the word!

Question: What technology tools do you use to gain a competitive edge and increase profitability?

Clap On, Clap Off

I read about the development of technology to control your computer using sounds. It made me smile as I immediately thought about the TV commercial for the Clapper. Clap on, clap off. Take a look at this video to see the latest incarnation of the Clapper. I’m not sure what the practical implications of this technology might be – but your computer could become an awesome light switch.

Point, Shoot, and Shop

A new iPhone application allows you to find detailed information on any product simply by taking a picture of it. With the SnapTell Explorer application, you can take a picture of a book—and within seconds the screen will display the right book with reviews, links to other Web sites (including a Wikipedia entry), and online prices from multiple retailers. Welcome to the future of shopping.

How does it work? According to SnapTell, “SnapTell has created core patent pending proprietary technology for image matching that works with databases of millions of images. This highly accurate and robust algorithm for image matching is called Accumulated Signed Gradient (ASG). Our technology works effectively on pictures taken with any camera phone in the world, including ones that have VGA cameras or relatively low resolution (320×240) cameras. Also, our robust matching engine can handle pictures taken in real life conditions that may have lighting artifacts, focus/motion blur, perspective distortion, and partial coverage. The technology works in a wide variety of real life scenarios including print advertisements, outdoor billboards, brand logos, product packaging, branded cans, bottles, and wine labels.”

Regardless of the underlying technology, there is no doubt that this adds many new and fascinating layers both to marketing and the in-store retail experience. How are stores going to compete when every customer can walk over to a manager and prove that they can get the exact same product for cheaper somewhere else? How are stores going to change what they stock and the types of brands they sell? Customers are going to be so empowered with information and reviews that it’s going to be very hard to carry items that no one likes. This app could become even more powerful when the iPhone’s GPS capabilities kick in. SnapTell will be able to show consumers varying prices for the exact same product within walking distance.

The SnapTell Explorer iPhone app might be one of the most powerful indications of how customers are really going to control the shopping experience going forward… and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface.