The idea of touch screen mobile computing is not new. For some years we have seen pseudo laptop/tablet products attempt to permeate the market. Cumbersome laptops with swivel touch screens – heavy and awkward to carry as well as much more expensive than laptops or netbooks. Needless to say, these hybrids have not taken the business world by storm.
Along came the smartphone. Smaller, cheaper and ultra-portable, yet lacking the functionality a larger device can offer. Good, but not great. A solution but far from a revolution.
Then the tablet computer arrived. Lightweight and sleek. Practical and usable. In one word: Perfect.
However, do not just take my word for it. Let us consider a tablet PC’s form factor and real-world business application.
- 7” / 10” touch screen display
- Lightweight and portable (max 1.1kg)
- WiFi and 3G – internet access anywhere
- Camera, microphone and speakers for video calling/ conferencing
- USB and mini USB ports to connect peripherals such as an external keyboard or mouse
- VGA / HDMI output for presentations
- LAN port on selective models
- Windows 7 or Android Operating System
- Quality durable cases are available. Many with built-in soft or hard keyboard
I’m sure you will agree that on paper all looks promising. But how can you and your business benefit from this evolving technology?
Tablet PCs fundamentally redefine the concept of the “mobile office”. They are completely portable and easy to use in a variety of situations. Unlike a laptop which ideally needs to be placed on a flat surface, you can use a tablet just about anywhere – on a train, in a car (not whilst driving please!), walking through the park or even whilst enduring long queues at airports!
Have you tried note-taking during meetings using your laptop? If so, you will know only too well that a laptop acts as a barrier between you and everyone else. Tablet PCs, however, are unobtrusive and can therefore be utilised during meetings in much the same way as a notepad and pen. You can handwrite notes straight onto the screen, sketch diagrams, open and edit spreadsheets and even annotate and scribble on digital documents such as PDFs. Your notes can then be converted to text, printed wirelessly or emailed almost instantaneously.
How to best present your ideas to others. PowerPoint presentations can be interesting and informative, though getting your message across is practically impossible when you are huddled round a laptop peering at the screen. With a tablet PC you can simply hand over your presentation to your audience, letting them hold it in their hands and experience it for themselves. Alternatively, plug your tablet into a projector or TV screen using the VGA or HDMI output for that ‘big screen’ effect.
Form filling can be tedious and time-consuming. Let us consider this mundane process: (1) Fill in the paper-based form (2) Fax/ scan and email/ take the form to the office (3) Copy data from form onto computer (4) File original form. With a tablet PC, you can enter the data directly onto the electronic form (which may be a PDF or a database front end, for example). This data can then be stored and shared immediately. No double entry, reducing the instance of human error and no paper wastage, saving both time and money whilst increasing the reliability and integrity of your data.
Having all the information you require at your fingertips can prove invaluable. Be it product catalogues, reference manuals and encyclopaedias or your entire customer database, with a tablet PC you can view all the information you need, whenever you need it, either locally or across a network.
New technology is often a talking point in business networking. You arrive at that all-important engagement with a polished electronic gadget under your arm and people will naturally want to speak with you about it. You may decide to demonstrate its capabilities by playing a short company video or PowerPoint presentation and you may also take the opportunity to input their contact details or share electronic business cards.
To be at the forefront of technology is becoming ever more important in business, as is online networking and collaboration. To summarise, we know that touch screen tablet computers benefit the business in the following ways:
- Increased mobility of staff
- Improved communications and networking
- Improved efficiency
- Monetary savings
- Increased data integrity and reliability
- Boost in company profile and image
Furthermore, it is our experience that many secondary benefits will begin to emerge once these devices are in place and being used alongside your existing technology.