Some businesses have jumped on the tablet (eg. Apple iPad or Android) wagon and are finding creative ways to use the tablets as a mobile computing device. For example:
- iT and Beyond client FareShare developed an iPad app to allow the food charity’s van drivers to obtain real-time updates on food collection points and feedback on stock collected and delivery times to the charity’s chefs, improving the quality and speed at which food could be cooked and donated to over 100 charities in Melbourne.
- The Global Mundo Tapas restaurant in Sydney, Australia uses the iPad as an interactive menu.
- Budget airline, Jetstar Airways, uses the iPad for in-flight entertainment, rented for $10 a flight.
- A luxury sedan by Hyundai comes with an iPad instead of a user manual.
Other than these extreme cases, how can an iPad be used to increase productivity or convenience by the average business owner?
Conventions and Workshops
Do you travel to conventions and workshops for your business? Many people bring their laptop to these events. While laptops are of course very convenient compared to a desktop personal computer for travelling, Tablets weigh less and could be even more convenient if you’re travelling from room to room at a convention or workshop. These events are also often designed for networking – so you’re not just sitting at the table all day, glued to your laptop. The smaller, iPad Mini could be slipped into your pocket or a small bag while you walk around the room, or even carried in your hand for easy access as needed, but without being cumbersome.
Flights and Traveling
It’s true a laptop can go on a flight with you, but even the smaller netbooks and laptops add to the weight of your carry on bags and can be frustrating when in the small seats of the plane. If you’re sitting in coach, you know every time the person next to you has to get up to use the bathroom you’re trying to balance the laptop and whatever else you happened to have out in your hands with turbulence knocking you around the aisle. The iPad could be slid into the pocket of the seat in front of you if you have to get out of the way for the passenger next to you – it’s about the size of a magazine.
The same holds true on trains, in taxi cabs, or as a passenger in someone else’s car. Just don’t try to use your iPad while driving, yourself.
Presentations & Sales
Do you travel to client offices to give presentations? How sleek would it be to whip out your iPad and give a sales presentation or demonstration? Apple reports that iPads can connect to the majority of projectors, so you could even broadcast that presentation over a large screen for a larger audience if necessary.
Replace Your Briefcase
Sure, the iPad has a word processor and spreadsheet. Those are always useful for business people. It would be much more convenient to read and edit documents on an iPad over your iPhone while on the road.
But what about the stack of magazines and newspapers you lug around with you in your briefcase? You could have all of your reading materials ready for you on the iPad and skip the briefcase. Use it as an ebook reader, newspaper subscription, and file storage and you’ve literally got everything at your fingertips. With the use of third party Apps, there’s little you can’t do with the iPad for as a mobile computing device for your business.