For many consumers, tablets may still seem like an extravagant ‘extra’ device.  They are mainly used for passive tasks, such as browsing the internet, watching movies or playing games.  They do not replace conventional PCs and laptops for many serious tasks, and as such are still considered extravagant because of the high price for an ‘extra’ device.  The marketing of tablets by manufacturers has also contributed to their perception as a luxury consumer device – with selling points mostly focusing on media content.

But tablets and smartphones are increasingly being taken seriously as business tools.  Touchscreens, portability and of course mobility are attractive points.  In many cases too, however, tablets are a cost-effective business solution, rather than a high-tech extravagance.  Innovative apps across all scales of business are appearing, from small retail businesses to large industries like construction and even medicine.

“I give a lot of speeches, and all my speeches are on the iPad — I have templates for 8 different speeches, and I usually just customize them for each speech   …  with the iPad, I don’t need to worry about IT issues because everything I need is right there.”   – Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething.org.  (Read full article on Mashable)

Point of Sale

For an everyday consumer, a tablet may seem expensive to buy on top of a traditional PC or laptop, but when the tablet can stand for itself, it can be an attractive solution.  Square’s clever technology allows a small card reader to be plugged into an Android or iOS device to allow the user to be able to take card payments.  This means that a smartphone or tablet can be turned into a point-of-sale payment system with no monthly costs or expensive setup.  Of course, with a tablet, the device becomes an easy to use touchscreen till with no additional or specialized hardware required.  ShopKeep POS is an iPad app designed to do just this.  One company has even implemented iPads as an ‘at-table’ ordering and payment system, allowing people to place and pay for their orders right at the table.

 

Apple

In it’s marketing and branding approach, Apple appears to be largely consumer-oriented.  In many ways, the iPad is less suitable for business than other tablets, such as ones running on Windows or Android which offer better ease of integration with PCs, but the iPad is still the most popular tablet for businesses by quite a long way.  But behind the scenes, Apple is starting to do more to support businesses, including the recent launch of the Volume Purchase Program for B2B apps in the app store, and a growing business section on their website.  Apple’s configurator app for Macs allows apps and configurations to be applied to multiple iPads – ideal for IT managers to configure iPads for large teams.

 

Scribble were approached by Land Securities to create a tool that they could use internally for showcasing their London property portfolio.  We chose the iPad 2 as the perfect platform – the mobility and portability and amazing screen quality make it perfect for giving presentations, but the device is powerful enough to show interactive 3D graphics and carry a large amount of content.  The app gives employees a single place to find all the content they need, offline.  They can then use the app to create and give presentations.  Future CMS integration will allow centralised management, allowing Land Securities to update and manage content in the app.  Find out more about our Land Securities iPad app here.

The major tablet manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and Sony have so far not made a concerted effort to market their devices to business and industry.  Instead, businesses and entrepreneurial developers have created applications to turn tablets into powerful business tools.  This trend will only continue, and better integration with other devices, faster processors and better support from the manufacturers will continue to strengthen future tablets as powerful business tools.