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In Focus: Personal Technology

Posted On: May. 20, 2007 12:00 AM CST

Major information technology investments can be a key factor in a company's success in the insurance industry, but for many in the business, various personal technology devices are critical to getting the job done. Again this year, we've asked individuals across the industry to tell us about their most essential Tools of the Trade. Thanks to everyone who responded to tell us about your favorite tech tools. Here's a look at some of the items you mentioned.

Tool: Gateway Tablet "Convertible" S-7200C Notebook with Sprint-Novatel Broadband Wireless Card

Manufacturer: Gateway Inc., Sprint-Nextel

What it does: The Gateway tablets feature a display that swivels 180 degrees and fold flat over the keyboard to create a tablet. The Sprint-Novatel wireless card allows users to enjoy broadband-like data transmission speeds when uploading and downloading data to and from a laptop.

Why it's essential: "It allows for me to have a 'mobile office' without the standard limitations that handheld gadgets impose, or needing to find an Internet source from some remote location to use it."

—Patrick A. Tollefsrud, Associated Financial Group

Tool: HP Compaq TC1100 Tablet Computer

Manufacturer: Hewlett-Packard Development Co. L.P.

What it does: Flexible design, light-weight, docking with or without keyboard, magnesium alloy case and high-quality digital pen with tether.

Why it's essential: "Lightweight PC that provides all wireless functions and Internet access while traveling. However, the nicest advantage is that I can substitute the big stacks of paper reading materials I used to carry around in my briefcase with an easily transported device that is about the size of an 8x11 piece of paper and one inch thick."

—David Leonard, RSUI Indemnity Co.

Tool: Treo 700wx Mobile Smartphone

Manufacturer: Palm Inc.

What it does: All-in-one phone with e-mail, organizer and Web browser; Microsoft Windows Mobile, backlit QWERTY keyboard, one-touch access to frequently used applications.

Why it's essential: "Anywhere access to internal e-mail, contacts, calendar and tasks. Plus, this model allows this synchronization to happen without adding expensive third-party applications like BES and Goodlink."

—Chris A. Davis, J. Rolfe Davis Insurance

Tool: BlackBerry 8703e Wireless Handheld

Manufacturer: Research in Motion Ltd.

What it does: Broadband download speeds using EV-DO technology, GPS and Bluetooth enabled, QWERTY keyboard, high resolution screen, access to up to 10 supported personal and/or business e-mail accounts.

Why it's essential: "My number one tool at work is face-to-face interaction. When I can't do that, my BlackBerry allows me to deal with appropriate situations immediately via phone or e-mail. It's also easier to carry around than a laptop. In addition, I have access to my personal e-mail on the same device as my work e-mail. When I need downtime, I can talk, play a game or surf the Web."

—Gary Plotkin, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.

Tool: Kyocera KPC650 Broadband Access/National Access PC Card

Manufacturer: Kyocera Corp.

What it does: High-speed wireless data access, high-performance antenna design, seamless SMS text-messaging capability, fast access to corporate applications, e-mail, virtual private networks and browsers via laptop.

Why it's essential: "It provides access to my computer servers, e-mail and the World Wide Web."

—Tom Konopka, Noetic Specialty Insurance Co.

Tool: HP Compaq nc6220 Laptop Computer

Manufacturer: Hewlett-Packard Development Co. L.P.

What it does: Combines mobility and performance in a thin, light design with enhanced security features, allowing users to enjoy performance and productivity on the road.

Why it's essential: "As it's used with Vodafone Mobile Connect HSDPA/EDGE/GPRS data card and as our Intranet is linked to IP telephony, I can handle all I miss when at meetings and work from home and clear e-mails and phone calls even when on leave."

—John Bishop, Alexander Forbes Risk Services Ltd.