From simply checking e-mail on a smartphone, to running a client presentation from an iPad, mobile devices have boosted remodelers' productivity over the last several years. But somehow technology users always find a need for more. After all, you can use your laptop on a jobsite, but get online can be tricky without wi-fi available. Thankfully, the more that small business owners find work to take on the go, the more vehicle manufacturers innovate to help them get there.
Take the 2014 Nissan NV3500. With squared-off wheelwell housings, aftermarket storage compatibility, and an interior height of more than 6 feet in the high-roof model, the upgraded cargo van will meet most any company's hauling needs. But it's the cab that has what remodelers will really want to take advantage of. A segment-exclusive fold-down passenger's seat serves as a work table, while DC and USB outlets let users plug in a variety of devices. Specially designed compartments accommodate laptops, binders, hanging files, and clipboards, and large door pockets and under-seat storage make room for everything owners and crews might need to operate a mobile workstation.
Dodge further improves mobile office connectivity with its Uconnect multimedia platform. Drivers who opt for the Uconnect package with an 8.4-inch touchscreen and GPS navigation will also be able to take advantage of wi-fi capability that turns the truck into a mobile hotspot. Along with the subscription-based wi-fi service, the vehicle has plenty of outlets to charge devices, plus a PTO option if you need to run a generator on-site. Hands-free calling and voice text reply are also available, not to mention plenty of storage. Get Uconnect on 2014 Ram trucks and other Dodge vehicles. Both the 2014 NV3500 and 2014 Ram were showcased at the Remodeling Show in October. Ram is available now; the NV3500 will roll out in January 2014.
Speaking of Uconnect, drivers looking for a new non-truck business vehicle should keep an eye out for a new feature in SUVs from Dodge's parent company Chrysler. 2014 models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, SRT Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Durango SUVs will offer factory-installed wireless smartphone charging, along with Uconnect access via mobile. The wireless charging feature is supported by the growing Qi platform. Qi-enabled devices can simply be placed on the charging surface in the center console to fill the battery. "Our goal is to ensure that our customers who want to stay connected, can do so conveniently," says Marios Zenios, vice president of Uconnect Systems & Services. "Our wireless charging station does just that. But further, we want to encourage them to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. For this reason, we provide a docking station for secure storage." —Lauren Hunter is Chief Editor of Products for Hanley Wood Magazines. You can find her on Twitter at @ProductsHunter.