Businesses See Tablet Computing Quickly Evolving from Toy to Tool

Businesses See Tablet Computing Quickly Evolving from Toy to Tool

 Although it’s old news already, the new iPad made an impressive debut when it was released in early March. With this third iteration, Apple is still turning heads of consumers and furthering the device’s relevance as a workplace alternative or supplement to traditional computers. The latest iPad offers a quantum leap forward in display technology along with 4G connection speeds and more processing horsepower, keeping it still well ahead of the competition in almost every feature.

The rise of tablet computing and mobile devices proved to be the major technology trend in 2011, and is continuing to carry on in 2012. Compared to the longer proven smart phone and handheld market, the larger screen of a tablet makes for easier browsing of web content and app data and e-mail while maintaining mobility benefits over laptops and desktops. This era of computing has been driving the creation and adoption of mobile business applications across industry spectrums. From healthcare to education to construction to retail, almost every line of business can find game-changing value in tablet and mobile computing. The impact of tablet computing and its most prominent player, the iPad, has empowered sales and marketing efforts, customer service processes, and executive management, allowing for easy interaction with critical hosted data, and effective display of all kinds of information, including charts, images, and product demos.

To the vast majority of the business world, adopting some form of tablet device for mobile computing is a no brainer. If you want to keep up with the competition, you should start by keeping up with the latest technology trends. The enterprise adoption of Apple's iPad has been one of the biggest surprises in the early days of the tablet market and the adoption rate is still moving at a fast clip. It is estimated that in next five years the demand for tablet devices will increase five-fold in the enterprise segment as most of Fortune 500 companies have already either deployed or are piloting the device.

As for the small business market, here also the tablet’s advantages are easily recognizable. Despite the fact that not all small businesses use tablets, a recent survey reported by TabTimes indicates that the adoption is on a fast track. In the survey of over 1,100 independent business owners, 55 percent said they expect to use a tablet or other device in the future.  And almost half of those surveyed, 45 percent said their next technology purchase will be a tablet, beating out laptops which came in second at 41 percent. Already, 28 percent of business owners say they’re currently using tablets for their business applications. This statistic was well ahead of laptops at 19 percent and desktop computers at 17 percent.  But adopting the latest technology -- whether it’s tablets, cloud computing or virtualization -- can be a frustration-filled experience if the deployment, training and cost issues aren’t examined carefully in advance. The Wall Street Journal listed five areas it calls “the biggest mistakes” companies make when it comes to deploying tablets: 

  1. Failing to have a plan before rolling out the devices
  2. Not understanding what tablets are -- and are not -- good for
  3. Expecting to easily obtain all the apps you need
  4. Thinking tablets are cheaper than laptops
  5. Misjudging the ease of support and security

 The mistake to simply issue tablets broadly without a clear idea of what they’ll be used for is important to note. Further, figuring out policy issues for tablet use, who will manage the devices, and how they will be used are important factors for consideration.  And while laptop and desktop devices aren’t going away any time soon, there’s no doubt tablet computing is evolving rapidly and that its presence in the workplace will continue to grow. The benefits of effectively demonstrating products lines and services, tracking data real time and executing niche business functionality in a lightweight, extremely portable environment are game-changing factors which will only get better and easier to use as the market expands and adapts.  

If you are interested in learning more about how tablet computing can help your business, or if you have any questions related to custom apps for your organization, contact your VCIO or Jim Higgins. With our full-time staff certified and experienced in both tablet hardware and apps, including iOS and FileMaker Go platforms, we are uniquely qualified to recommend, deploy, and support the latest in tablet technology for our clients.

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