Sync Stories: Ideas for Business Travelers

BitTorrent Sync

Sync Stories is a column dedicated to our users. Each week, we showcase a different use case for BitTorrent Sync and the personal stories behind it.

In this week’s edition: Art outsourcing manager Jon Jones provides three scenarios where BitTorrent Sync comes in handy for business travel.

From Jon:

Scenario 1: Need to share large files; too big for email, no Wi-Fi connection, mobile devices only. Now what?

I use the TP-Link MR3020 portable travel router. It’s a small, cheap router with a Wi-Fi hotspot you can connect to and share files through. In a hotel room, it’s great for plugging the Ethernet cable into so you have Wi-Fi access through all of your devices. But here’s the best part: You don’t even need to be connected to the Internet to use it! All you have to do is connect to its Wi-Fi hotspot with the devices you want to sync, and it will still work. It can even be run off of a portable battery charger and stay in your bag, everywhere you go. I use it for syncing large files between my devices and even with clients when I don’t have Internet access, wherever I am.

Scenario 2: I’m getting on a plane and need to work on my documents offline. Now what?

Generally speaking, I always look to Sync first as a simple, secure, and reliable solution for syncing both personal and client data. However, in many situations, I’m locked in to using the business tools that my client already uses, and I don’t have much of a choice. For example, there’s often already an established folder structure, naming convention, and series of shared documents with specific permissions levels that I have little choice in altering.

I’ve come up with a hybrid solution that uses my clients’ existing system, but is augmented by the power and speed of BitTorrent Sync to make working offline much easier. For this example, I’ll use Google Drive, but most cloud storage providers have a desktop-based client like this. None of them are particularly convenient for syncing files offline except on a file-by-file basis, so I’m going to show you how Sync can solve that.

Step 1: Install BitTorrent Sync on your PC. Create a shared folder for the documents you want to sync. Share it across your mobile devices and the laptop with which you’re traveling.

Step 2: Install a file manager app (for iPhone / for Android) on your mobile devices so you can create, remove, and manage files and folders as easily as you can on a desktop PC. Installing this before you realize you need it will save you a lot of frustration later on if you’re dealing with large amounts of files and folders. Practically speaking, you should assume you will be so you can anticipate the system scaling.

Step 3: Install the Google Drive desktop app onto your primary work PC and the laptop with which you’re traveling. Under Preferences, select which folders on your hard drive that you want to sync to the cloud. Select the BitTorrent Sync shared folder you created in Step 1 and verify that the data is syncing. Done!

With this setup, all of your data will be automatically synced to all of your devices for offline use wherever you go, as well as being backed up to the cloud via Google Drive to maintain the proper shared folders with your clients. Simply use your laptop or mobile devices as you normally would to open and edit the auto-synced documents in your regular applications. When you have Internet access again and connect with the laptop that has the Google Drive desktop client installed, Sync will automatically sync the data to its proper folders, and back into the cloud for your clients. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s the smartest one I found, and you don’t have to convince your clients to change the systems with which they’re comfortable. It’s the best of both worlds!

Scenario 3: I received a business card I cannot lose. What’s the smart way to handle this?

I am a huge fan of CamScanner, an app for Android and iOS that makes scanning and backing up business cards incredibly simple. It automatically crops, adjusts lighting for visibility, and has the ability to save as PDF. Install that, then create a Sync shared folder that points to the ‘Save’ directory for the app. That way, whenever you snap a photo of a business card, it’s automatically backed up to all of your devices so you can’t lose it!

You can reach Jon on Twitter and his website. For more info on Sync, click here and if you’ve got an epic Sync idea, use-case or how-to, shoot us an email at sync[at]bittorrent.com.