As I work harder and harder to get away from using paper, I’m finding that a number of digital solutions are key to the process. For example, my iPad now lets me gather and read not only all my books but also many of the PDFs that I use. In fact, as Carly mentioned in a post last year, I use my iPad as my prayerbook when leading services. It’s convenient, it forces me to think through all of the specific cues beforehand (not that I wouldn’t anyway), and it’s easier on my damaged hands and wrists. This was the third year I used the iPad in this way, and it is now second nature to me. I can’t imagine using a dead-tree prayerbook and sermon text!
In addition, I scanned numerous books and magazines that I own in dead-tree versions using my high-speed scanner. Yes, it means I destroyed the books in the process (it requires cutting the binding off), but the end result is incredibly useful and, because it is electronic and in my DropBox account, it is available everywhere.
Then there are the hundreds upon hundreds of paper receipts and business cards I receive. I can’t just throw them out, and I certainly can’t shred them without having some sort of record. That’s where Neat comes in. I’ve long been a fan of their NeatDesk desktop scanner and Neat software combination. They make it simple, and fast, to scan receipts and business cards and, because the software is “intelligent”, it is able to pull key information off them and populate data fields automatically. It not only works but it works well.
I recently spent some time with their mobile scanner. (I reviewed it here.) I’m a fan of the portability and didn’t mind giving up the speed of the desktop device. And now, months later, the NeatDesk scanner is chugging away here in New Jersey, Judie has bought her own NeatDesk to use at home, and she uses the mobile scanner on the go. Yes, Gear Diary is a fully Neat-enabled site!
But what about those times when you’re out and about? What about times when you don’t have access to your computer? In those situations even the mobile scanner won’t help. There is a solution and it is found in the one thing most of us NEVER leave home without… our smartphone. Neat has gone completely mobile with their NeatCloud and NeatMobile combination.
I’ve been using them for the last few months and thought we would take a closer look at why this is such a useful piece of modern technology.
As noted, traditionally, when scanning you needed a physical scanner connected to a computer. You then had the option to save your scanned documents in a variety of places but it all had to begin at a computer. Then you need to remember to import scanned documents into something like Evernote or DropBox if you want access to them on the go. NeatCloud solves this by offering you a secure cloud based filing cabinet for your scanned items.
Access Your Digital Filing System Anywhere
Expanded Search: When you create an Expanded Search, NeatCloud will include results from your Evernote, Dropbox, or Google Docs accounts in addition to your Neat Digital Filing System.
NeatCare Premium Support: Some NeatCloud plans include NeatCare – premium phone support, as well as accidental damage protection for your Neat scanner. Your NeatCare support will continue as long as you are on an eligible NeatCloud plan.
Web Upload & Download: With the NeatCloud web interface, you can upload files into, or download files from your Digital Filing System – no matter where you are.
Email-in to NeatCloud: Forward e-receipts, or any email – with or without attachments – directly into your Digital Filing System.
Backup: With NeatCloud, your entire Digital Filing System will be securely backed up and protected on the cloud. That means it’s safer to store something in the cloud than on just your computer, and a broken computer or a lost phone no longer means lost files.
Sync: NeatCloud keeps your files synced in the cloud and across your devices. Access your most up-to-date information on multiple computers, your mobile devices (with NeatMobile), or with any web browser.
In short, NeatCloud moves your Neat-scanned documents to their secure serves and makes it possible for you to access them whenever, and wherever you are. In the process it also makes sharing data easier too. This is key since, for example, I always want to make sure that Judie and I both have information on the people we meet through Gear Diary. Now we are able to let NeatReceipts scan and process business cards we are handed and then send them to each other with ease. The convenience, not to mention the security of having our data backed up, it priceless.
But what it you want to be even more mobile? After all, we all have our smartphones with us at all times. Why not use them to “scan”. It isn’t farfetched. In fact, Evernote recently added a functionality to their iOS application that makes scanning pages much easier and quicker than ever before. Here too, however, there isn’t really the right solution for replacing the home scanning setup I rely on. The reason? I don’t simply want to scan a receipt, I want to scan it and have the data pulled so I can easily manipulate the information.
That is exactly what NeatMobile allows you to do.
With the new mobile app connected to NeatCloud you don’t need a computer, a scanner or anything but… your phone and an active data connection. This makes especially good sense since the iPhone, the iPad, and, shockingly enough, the upcoming new iPod touch, have excellent cameras. With NeatMobile you can snap a picture of a receipt or business card as easily as you can snap pictures of your family and friends.
The app then sends the image to NeatCloud and, within a few minutes you’re notified that the receipt you sent has been “Neatified”. I tried the system this afternoon with 20 receipts, and after a quick sync the information was on my MacBook Pro.
The more I use the NeatMobile app and NeatCloud the more impressed I am. And the more reliant upon it I become. That is, after all, the ultimate test of technology. If you find yourself using it more and more the company likely has a winner on its hands. I think they do… NeatCloud and NeatMobile are a terrific solution for anyone trying to go paperless and/or be more organized.
Learn more here on the Neat website.