Rockin’ Innovation, Local Picks

by Guest Blogger, Monica Surfaro Spigelman Time to geek out with tech picks that are both functional and fun. When you’re ready for your next “gotta have it” technology, here are several gadgets and services that Local First Arizona members are excited about:

  • Centralized Tech: Student Experts is a Tucson-based business delivering Internet marketing solutions for small-and-medium sized organizations. Led by CEO Dean Falconer, Student Experts picks SmartThings, a group of devices that go beyond cool to support office function. SmartThings, a recent Kickstarter project that Student Experts supported, makes your home or office smarter by remotely controlling climate, lights and door locks from a smart mobile device. “The possibilities with this gadget are endless,” says StudentExperts’ project manager Britt Brouse, who notes that the SmartsThings products may be monitored and controlled via a hub device and web services. As early backers of this Kickstarter project, Student Experts received its SmartThings kit recently. “We coupled SmartThings with Schlage remote door locks to secure our office doors and require a code to access certain parts of the building,” notes Britt. Contact Britt or Dean for additional information about online marketing services. 520-200-7340 [email protected]
  • Entertainment Smarts: There’s increasing buzz about HTML and how television manufacturers embrace technology for picture enhancement as well as entertainment, interactivity and web application. Appliance Mart of Willcox AZ, celebrating 20 years in business this month, has its eye on super-sharp innovations for its customers. Co-owner Betsy Ajeman enthusiastically recommends TV manufacturer LG’s Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED)  products for their reliability, gorgeous color and Internet capability. In her showroom is a 42-inch LG-LED smart TV that allows you to surf the Internet on the big screen, value-priced under $1300. Betsy often uses her iPad to demonstrate products or research customer preferences. She has her manufacturers’ web pages bookmarked, enabling her to enlarge product photos, describe items, and use stock in the showroom for comparison. Questions about smart television products? Contact Betsy or Cary at 520-384-2262.
  • In the Cloud: Datadrive is a Tucson computer repair and IT support provider that has provided small business owners with technical support for more than 22 years. As a small business owner and as someone who advises others how to best use technology, owner and Local First Arizona member Brian Lawson looks for ways to make the most of the latest tech products and services. Cloud-based storage is one innovation on the cyber horizon that many small business owners have yet to adopt, says Brian.  “Most of us have at least two or three computers we use throughout the day – at the office, at home, and probably another portable device for anywhere,” he indicates. “Cloud-based storage services allows saving a document, spreadsheet or any computer-based project into a folder that is uploaded to a webserver and then automatically synchronized so that can be access from all computers,” explains Brian. Although a popular cloud-based storage system is Dropbox, Brian also flags some great products designed specifically for small business. When a business needs to exchange large files (including photos, videos or tax returns) with clients and runs into problems with file size via e-mail, Brian recommends myClientFolder.  “This cloud based storage system is designed specifically to meet the needs of small and medium sized business and is very affordable at only $14.95 per month,” he says. “Best of all, it was created and is supported by a local Tucson business, Telexis Software. “ (Telexis is a Tucson based software development company that produces small business-centered products.) For on-call IT support or more about the cloud, contact Brian 520-622-4050 ||Google+

Tech trends and products offer potentially huge opportunity for our businesses…as well as enjoyment. Keep watch on the reviews at Mashable or Digital Trends. Learn more at Wired. There’s so much out there for small business to watch and embrace.

The Local First Arizona directory of local businesses is full of goods and services to help with your technology interests and needs and so much more.


Local First Arizona guest blogger and member Monica Surfaro Spigelman writes about localism, technology, business and culture. She also is folk arts director for Tucson Meet Yourself. Monica, a NYC transplant with credentials in corporate communications, non-profit marketing and journalism, looks forward to connecting with fellow small businesses!