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Friday, February 25, 2011

Long Live the Business Tablet – Bye Bye Laptop?

Long Live the Business Tablet – Bye Bye Laptop?

I have been waiting for the research firms to publish some numbers regarding the adaptation of Tablets in the business environment. After many firms using Netbooks which is no different than the laptop, (except those that chose to pilot Linux models and its OS variants) the Tablet is becoming a prominent business tool.

Naturally, the first to lead and fast followers have already started their tablet agendas last year with the Apple iPad. Now that everyone is announcing and releasing new tablets has the IT departments and CTO/CIOs started to develop roll out plans.

Robert Half Technology’s recent survey of over 270 Canadian CIOs indicates over 40% are planning some kind of roll out in the next two years.

Forrester surveyed over 3000 decision makers in the Fortune 500 arena and found the number to be 30% have already implemented Tablets for employees and 75% will be doing so within the next 12 months.

Business has become serious about Tablets with the primary benefit is to increase employee productivity and mobility and to lower costs. The Tablet may become the business tool with the fastest growth.

Many organizations already have Wi-Fi networks in their offices for employees and the smart ones have guest access for visitors. Many organizations have networks in place to connect all their offices and servers together. Many already have data center environments to keep the clouds together. Those that don’t can easily add all the network elements needed in a cost-effective manner. Naturally , Cisco, Avaya (Nortel) and HP have all made enhancements in their technology to support newer and faster 802.11 networks, improved access Wi-Fi security, and fit for purpose LAN wan infrastructure to support centralized cloud computing. As laptop technology refreshes occur, decisions will be made to determine where the employee fits in the user profile. The basics of hard wired desktop, laptop, desktop and laptop, tablet, all three, green screen terminal or none will continue.

The Tablet players right now included Apple iPad, Cisco Cius, Avaya Flare, Google Chrome, Google Android, Dell Streak, Samsun Galaxy Tab, RIM Playbook, and the Hewlett Packard PalmPad. The Asus, Lenovo and Asus laptoppers have already made announcements.

Immediate Business Benefits are as follows:

Mobility – The small and lightweight form factor allows the device to easily be taken on business trips and business meetings. 3G or Wi-Fi will allow access to the corporate cloud. Battery life exceeds the laptops 2 hours dramatically.

Lower TCO – The lower cost, lack of expensive OS and productivity suites, and automated updates make these devices cheaper than laptops. I am sure there will be savings in having less LAN switches to support the tablets as they are wireless. The Kensington security cable can be reused.

Large Displays – The 10 inch display makes it possible to replace paper and the 7 inch screen is also workable. The tablet has the real estate advantage over the Smartphone. A Pharma sales person can slide a tablet across to a busy doctor and demonstrate the benefits of a new drug to a busy doctor very easily. A Sales Engineer can show a network diagram just as easily.

Security – Security is a chief concern with corporations and obviously RIM has an early advantage but the security companies will catch up very fast with apps for that. With syncing through the cloud, data storage is more centralized and not as pervasive on laptop hard rives.

New Applications – The tablet will drive innovation for new applications for how the device will be used. The tablet has replaced the menu at forward thinking restaurants. The tablet will change the way data is collected by field agents for the insurance companies, sales organizations and retailers. A huge area of improvement will be in medical applications with its forms, charts, and scan images and on going assessments. The drive for creating applications that will replace or improve current workflows will change dramatically. An investment advisor can visit you at your home, review your investment portfolio, make recommendations and changes and have you accept the changes. The changes or stock trades can take place first thing in the morning as the data is crunched overnight.

Simplicity – The new apps are simpler to use with less training. Letters can be prepared with light weight tools and do not need a 1000 feature document creator to use. LCD projectors can be used in a plug and play approach as opposed to the 20 minute key stroking the sales person goes though to connect his laptop to a projector. The workspace forces designers to work within the confines of the screen size in a more thoughtful approach. I have given up filling out surveys that take ten minutes and force you to go thorough 20 web screens. A tablet screen could force you to answer 5 questions on one screen and one swipe to send.

Green – Are tablets the new green? Lower power, less weight, less materials, faster to manufacture. I am sure there are green benefits but I can see a lot of PDF training information, brochures etc to be push from the cloud to the device. That saves paper.

Wireless is Mobility – These are wireless devices that can use the traditional Wi-Fi network or the cellular 3G networks. The data plans tend to be more forgiving without any data caps and roaming charges so they can access the cloud or intranet anywhere. The wi-fi networks are at many coffee shops, hotels, business environments and homes so those that don’t have cellular data plans need not worry.

Gaming – The business users will love the new gaming applications that will be created just for them. I know of two teenagers already creating the three hottest titles that will be a hug success. Angry Sales Birds : Sales reps throw flaming snowballs at customers that don’t buy from them after all their hard work. Angry Sales Mgrs: These characters hunt down sales reps in an enchanted forest environment and capture them and earn medals and points after torturing them with different administrative tasks. Angry Customers: This charmer features customers that retaliate by throwing flaming boulders at the incompetent salespeople that fall into the 4 universal classifications of incompetence. If they capture the brochure king, highest price of them all guy, Miss buy my software even if it’s not what you want, and the always golfing bobby you win a free tablet of your choice. At 99 cents an app fun, has finally arrived to corporate Global.

John Leonardelli
Senior Unified Communication Consultant


The writer may have owned an Apple Netwon or Palm Pilot at one time and may be biased.


  1. Thank you for your article!

  2. the Cius is the only obvious choice as a tablet for business. From enterprise management to security, no matter what 3rd party apps and add-ons are spewed forth as afterthoughts to attempt to line up the iPad (Playbook, Touch, etc) with enterprise, the Cius is the clear answer.

    David Watts
    NYC Area IT Mgmt for free Cius


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