Tablets for Business

This article by Alex Brayman explains the use of tablets for business tasks. Alex covers the ability to collaborate, work on the move, useful apps, and if you can completely replace all other computers. He answers the question of whether your business should even consider tablets.

Why it Makes Sense

Tablets for BusinessTablets make great productivity gadget. Aside from being able to play games, watch videos, and listen to music, there is a multitude of social networking opportunities out there to connect you to everyone on the internet. Tablets may appear to be the new way to procrastinate, but we seem to be forgetting all the practical uses. The business environment is actually where these devices can shine.

For our business, we chose the Apple iPad. We found that the iPad is a useful mobile business tool for many reasons. The operating system provides many features and makes it easy to synchronize all your personal information, like calendars, contacts, tasks, and email. Manually consolidating all your personal information from one device to another device is a thing of the past. Aside from synchronizing your personal information, there are many apps that allow you to share and collaborate documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. With the combination of the Apple iOS features and the many business apps on the market, the iPad is an extremely productive tool.

Collaboration

In every business, there are times when several people will be working on a single project. In the past, this meant each individual’s numerous revisions and edits would all have to be consolidated into a final document. Now, with programs like Dropbox and Google Drive, many people can work on the same document and see the changes in real-time, providing one collaborative document instead of a multitude of revised versions. This can be done with word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, drawings, and even templates, and they can be shared with any number of people.

Tablets are perfect for traveling since you can easily hold meetings—including video conferencing—through a variety of apps and collaborate on projects in real-time. In extreme cases, you can even access your full desktop using a remote access app, such as LogMeIn, for the few things that you can’t use the cloud for. Aside from being able to access your private files, there are geo-location apps that can be very useful in finding places, people, and even events in your area. I personally find it most effective when trying to find food on the go, but most businesses are listed to make it easy to find anything you might need.

Business Operation on the Go

A tablet is great for someone on the go, such as a business owner or manager. There are many business apps that can be used for overall management of a physical business. For example, there are security apps that allow you to monitor all live feeds of security cameras, see access logs of who entered and exited the building, and even control door locks and lights. Now companies are even beginning to get involved with payment services that integrate with PayPal or credit cards.

Another great feature is the ability to accept credit cards on the go. For a small percentage per swipe, you can add the convenience of credit cards and get paid instantly regardless of what type of business you run.

Portability

Tablets are far easier to transport than laptops or desktops due to their compact size. When you need to use a tablet there is no startup or login process necessary, whereas laptops always need to load the operating system unless they are already in sleep or standby. Its size and ease of use make it ideal to use while on the go—have you ever tried to use a laptop while walking? Also, instead of needing a bag to carry a laptop, most people only need a case for their tablet.

Can I Replace all of my Computers?

Tablets are the most effective when they are used on the go or for when you will be moving from meeting to meeting; it would be inconvenient to constantly pack and unpack a workstation. However, if you plan to work in one place for any more than two hours, it may be easier to use a laptop. This is simply because the access to a full keyboard and a mouse allow for faster typing and user input. It is possible to get a full keyboard for a tablet, but some might argue it is still not as convenient as having a computer. Other situations where a tablet would not suffice would include situations where you are using accessories requiring USB, SATA[?], or a video output port. Occasionally there are workarounds so that you can still use a tablet for these situations.

Personally, I believe that most business professionals will require a desktop or laptop computer. Oftentimes I find my multi-tasking capabilities on a tablet are limited compared to using a computer because I like to have multiple things displayed on the same screen.

Apps and Features We Suggest:

1) Dropbox (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac) – Store any documents that you want access to. Share folders with others for collaboration.

2) Google Drive (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac) – Perfect for writing up new documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. Any document created within Google Drive does not count against your 5GB allotment!

3) Kindle (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac) – Read all of your PDFs and kindle books or documents from anywhere. Great for reducing textbook cost.

4) PhotoStream (iOS6) – Share photos and images with people privately.

Great Resources:

1) Apple – iPad at Work
2) Inc. – Should you Buy or Lease Computer Equipment for your Business?

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