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iPad Adoption: A Viable Enterprise Option

With expectations for the highly anticipated Apple iPad through the roof, there was little doubt that it would disappoint some. In typical Apple fashion, the industrial design of the device is spectacular. Early hands-on testing indicates exceptional usability as well. However, lack of Adobe Flash support, a front facing camera for video conferencing, and multi-tasking capabilities have many lamenting how Apple missed the mark. Keep in mind that the iPad will be followed by countless devices in this new category, some already announced running Windows 7 or Android OSes.

Think About the Possibilities

The iPad is not the first device of its kind. Other Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) in slightly smaller form factors already exist, and more from HP, Archos, Dell and countless others have been announced for release this year. This begs the question – how will these devices be used in enterprise environments? Here are a few scenarios:

  • Healthcare was an early adopter of convertible notebook/tablets. This vertical saw the use case, but early convertible tablets were bulky, not very user friendly, had mediocre battery life, and were just not quite the right fit. Healthcare professionals will soon be seen sporting the new tablet, and adoption will be relatively quick in this vertical.
  • A field service technician carries a library of service manuals in the back of the service vehicle. All of these documents can be digitized and carried on an individual device, which is easily searchable and updated regularly. The field service application is on the same device, as well as route mapping using GPS, and real-time communication with dispatch.
  • A retail store has busy times, but it’s not economical or a good use of space to add POS stations. The tablet device form factor is ideal for creating mobile POS terminals. During busy times, retail associates can carry a mobile POS terminal allowing more customers through checkout more efficiently.

The list goes on. Road warriors will be able to use an instant-on device that is large enough to use for the majority of tasks, and can be employed to deliver client presentations. To be clear, there isn’t a use case for every enterprise, but many will find this new class of device to be very useful.

Much like 2009 was the year of the netbook, 2010 will be the year of the tablet/slate. Watch closely as this market evolves and a plethora of capable devices enter the market.

Bottom Line

The hype leading up to the launch of the Apple iPad led to ridiculously high expectations for the device. Some critics say that iPad misses the mark in some respects, but the device most certainly lays the foundation for a new product class, which will undoubtedly find its way into the enterprise.

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