The Best Ways to Use Tablets

By CIOReview | Friday, July 15, 2016
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As digitization is transforming business environments, tablets are gaining popularity to create a seamless customer experience. Businesses are using it to grow and make themselves and their employees more productive. It has been roughly five years since iPads and tablets were introduced in the market.  Over the years, tablets have matured and mutated into primary devices. Initially thought to be a frivolous purchase, tablets have now become a useful tool and businesses of all shapes and sizes are embracing it. 

Assuming that tablets are here to stay and they are all set to make a lasting impression on the business landscape, there’s now an interesting question: What exactly are we supposed to use tablets for? Apart from using it for entertainment, interactive and shared learning, as a “do-everything” device, tablets are considered as a “productivity tool” in business environments, simplifying complex process-related tasks.  One caveat about using tablets for business is that many tasks require a Bluetooth keyboard. Touchscreens are certainly functional, but keyboards are still a primary tool for employees to navigate the device and its enterprise applications.  

Advantages of Tablets over PCs

• Taking Notes: Tablets combine the benefits of taking notes on laptops and smartphones on one device. They enable the note-taking options that today’s employees are looking for, such as quick access to other documents and the ability to incorporate photos and voice recordings. However, tablet users need a connected keyboard to keep pace while taking notes.

 Working on the Go: Tablets are great when you are on the go and traveling because they are lighter, smaller, and much easier to carry than most laptops, making it less of a hassle to view work-related information. Laptops are a tight squeeze for employees trying to complete work on a flight, for example. Smartphone screens are too small to be productive on, and they also make it harder to appreciate streaming video, such as webcasts. One of the great features that has led to the tablet’s improved performance for businesses is its portability. Tablets can go along with you wherever you go, whether you’re walking around the sales floor or warehouse, traveling or simply out for lunch, giving you an easy access to your business’ information and operations round the clock.

• Giving Presentations: Using standard templates in PowerPoint, tablets can be used to good effect for creating simple presentations while on the road or incorporating last-minute changes to a presentation. A tablet is a great asset to have and its compact design makes it easier to bring it to a meeting room. Its compatibility with projectors, either using an adapter, Chrome TV or Apple TV makes it an ideal choice for users. For example, an iPad can display presentations via Apple TV using the AirPlay Mirroring feature. Users with an iPhone can enable their smartphone as a remote control through the Keynote application, allowing presenters to swap between iOS devices if they walk around while presenting.

• Bring Your Point of Sale System to the Customer: Restaurants are taking a step forward and placing tablets on the table to allow the customer to browse and send an order directly to the kitchen. More and more tablets are on display at trade shows, farmers markets, and festivals where small business owners just adds a Square, Pay Anywhere or Intuit credit card reader and can accept payments on the go.  You don’t need to bring the customer to the cash register or order entry system—flip that around because with a tablet you bring it to your customer wherever he or she is.

• Create and Edit: Managing your documents is of paramount importance in today’s business world. For many users, it is simply an issue of accessing a static document. But for true mobility, there is a need to create and edit documents on the go, even when out of the office. This need to work from any device, at any time, and any place, has helped fuel the spectacular growth of Evernote and its competitors. Now when it comes to editing documents, it brings to mind completely new capabilities; you don’t need to be in your office sitting next to a printer or a fax machine to use them.  For example, one can use a tablet for receiving contracts, and then use an electronic signature platform to sign, save, and return the signed documents.  Services like Adobe’s EchoSign and HelloSign are very helpful for managing the signing process from a tablet. Another out-of-the-box way to “edit” documents is by creating a web form with Wufoo and then using a handy stylus like Pogo Connect to fill out the form digitally.

What’s incredible is that businesses of all sizes are embracing tablets despite the lack of a killer application. There’s not yet a piece of software that relies on the unique utility of a tablet to provide business functionality that can’t be found elsewhere. Some might argue that the tablet form factor in itself is a killer application, but the truth is far simpler: Today’s IT universe is both more established and complex than that which allowed the killer apps of the 80s and 90s to shine, such as VisiCalc or Lotus 1-2-3.

Nowadays, we know what we want to do. The question is how well tablets let us do it, and it appears to be that people are getting by just fine.