The Enterprise iPad

One reader’s response to my last blog post got me thinking about whether Apple is missing a great opportunity by pushing the iPad as the next great consumer product. I think it’s entirely possible that the device could be equally radical in the Enterprise.

Consider these use cases:

  • A “Portable Portal” – a Corporate Dashboard, complete with Widgets that travel with you!
  • A “Virtual Meeting Machine” – think Superman: The Movie, where a real meeting room is populated by virtual Kryptonian judges (this will be especially well suited to version 2 of the iPad – you know, the one with the webcam).
  • A “Clean Hands Whiteboard” – idea sharing without the mess! Envision a meeting room full of iPad users (virtual or local), drawing on a shared whiteboard in real-time, while not having to worry about assigning someone at the end of the meeting to be the poor sap who has to transcribe everything.
  • An “Alert, Alert, Alert Communicator” – to do’s, meetings, events, hardware failures, and anything else you can think of can be pushed to you in real-time.
  • A “Collaboration Destination” – from Corporate Help Desks, to pre-sales demos, to customer support, there’s a real-time, multi-media, collaboration app for that (or will be, anyway).
  • A “Stand Up and Shout Data Capture Device” – get off your duff and do some work! You can easily use this device to collect information while standing – a must have for many businesses (think inventory management, POS, healthcare).
  • A “Satisfy Security Sandbox“ – with support for VPN’s, WPA2, Digital Certificates, LDAP, and more, the iPad should satisfy even the strictest of IT Security groups.
  • A “Green Machine” – forget about printing out 20 copies of a 30 page pdf only to see them thrown in a blue bin just 2 hours later. Do your work and save a tree in the process!

I know what you’re thinking – these use cases can either be accomplished or are already attainable by using laptops, or Google Wave, or LiveMeeting, or some other combination of hardware and software.

But with the iPad, there’s no lugging around a 4 pound machine, unwinding a cable that can’t be unwound, waiting for the OS to boot up, or figuring out why the cryptic code I just typed in to LiveMeeting won’t work. Plus, it’s an instant-on machine that has a fantastic battery that will last a business professional the entire day (including overtime, yippee!).

I’d love to hear your ideas on how the iPad could be used in the workplace!

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4 Responses to The Enterprise iPad

  1. Vince Marco says:

    A modern replacement for the office VOIP phone. Bluetooth headset enabled. Wireless (of course the wireless net will need some beefing up, but it replaces the current cabling costs of cubicles). Calendar and Address book accessible. Allows cubical pooling, shared cubes supporting part-time telecommuters, etc. Phone follows you around the workplace.

    • Gene says:

      Good idea Vince – the bluetooth headset/iPad combo could also be used in some of the other ideas I outlined, like in the helpdesk and healthcare fields.

  2. At Vela Systems (http://www.velasystems.com), our customers are some of the largest builders in the world, and we’ve spent years working with them on apps that use full sized Tablet PCs. They’ve been waiting for a device like the iPad – inexpensive, powerful, portable that they can put in the hands of all their personnel – which is why we’ve been so excited about it since it became available http://bit.ly/abXTAC.

    They’re using it similar to how you’re outlining it above — as a “Stand Up and Shout Data Capture Device.” Construction managers, architects, and owners are fundamentally changing the way they work on the construction jobsite. At the “point-of-construction” they can collect and share quality information, perform detailed inspections, and create tasks or issues — all without ever having to walk back to their desks. The can also use the iPad to replace the paper tube of drawings they’ve been carrying around for years because it can hold all those documents and let them lookup virtually anything with a few taps on the screen.

    Want to learn more? Talk to us here http://twitter.com/velasystems
    or, subscribe to our blog http://bit.ly/cnG23V

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