Friday, October 17, 2014

Beyond Photographs - 4 Alternate Uses for Smartphone Cameras

Most commonly smartphone cameras are used to take photographs of family and friends, places traveled, fantastic foods, and beautiful scenery.  However, there are other useful reasons to use these cameras which can save time and money.  The following list describes alternative functions for smartphone cameras.


  1. Printers
  2. Smartphones can be used as printer replacements in many ways.  Consider using a smartphone camera to replace a printer in the following situations:

    • When traveling or anywhere a printer is not readily available.
    • As a time saver when wanting to retain access to information from an account already logged into with credentials.  Normally a webpage using credentials will time out and require logging in again if left inactive for too long.
    • If a printer stops working or needs supplies which have not arrived.
    • To reduce paper waste and save time by snapping a quick photo when only a small portion of a document or webpage is needed.

  3. Shopping Lists
  4. Smartphones can be used to create shopping lists for quick and easy access later.  Consider using a smartphone camera to replace a shopping list in the following situations:

    • To document food brands or types when eating out or traveling.  Consider a special sauce or accompaniment served with a meal served in its original packaging.  This can be anything from a salad dressing to a special mustard, to a type of beer or wine.  Use a photo of the label to find out where you can order the same food at a later time.
    • To track gift ideas while out shopping, surfing the web, or browsing a magazine, whether physical or digital.  All of these situations expose us to items we have never before seen.  Sometimes these items are bulky or perishable or are not necessarily needed right away.  Instead, consider taking a photo of the label, article, or ad, for easy ordering later.  This is helpful whether the gifts are for yourself or for someone else.

  5. Documentation
  6. Smartphones can be used to keep documentation without wasting paper or printer supplies and can be easily accessed later. Consider using a smartphone camera for documentation purposes in the following situations:

    • Keeping serial numbers, product numbers, or model numbers of equipment like laptops, tablets, smart phones, printers and more. These numbers will be invaluable if looking for warranty information, if the item is ever lost, or if documenting theft.
    • Capturing error codes on a computer, laptop or tablet, or even in a vehicle. Error codes often pop up on start up and disappear quickly, or must be exited from to use the device normally. Writing down long error codes with hex values can be tedious.  Unfortunately, they often provide vital information for someone trying to fix the issue. Having the error code details captured can prove invaluable and is usually easy to gather with a smartphone camera.
    • Small references or statistics on webpages or magazines. Taking a photo of the information wanted prevents the need to keep a magazine or leave a specific webpage open in a web browser.
    • For Internet orders as item and order tracking.
    • To keep track of coupon or offer codes often offered when visiting or ordering from a website.

  7. Copiers
  8. Lastly, smartphones can be used in place of copiers. Consider using a smartphone camera to replace a copier in the following situations:

    • For signed documentation that makes sense to keep a copy of but does not necessarily need a printed copy.  Common types of documentation fitting this category are completed rebate forms and privacy forms from banks or other credit agencies.  If necessary, the form can be printed from the phone at a later time.
    • To keep a copy of something without keeping the original. For example, keeping a small section of a pamphlet, a magazine, or a book without keeping the entire original or printing a copy of the section wanted.  This saves time and resources.
No matter how often a smartphone camera is used, there are likely more ways it can prove useful.  Photos taken by smartphone cameras can be organized into folders or groups, are quick and easy to access, and can be printed later if necessary.  Using smartphone cameras for alternative uses saves time and resources.

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