A combination of portability and business-friendly apps have helped tablet manufacturers and tablets make inroads into a company’s day-to-day functioning.
The numbers say it all with the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, Gartner estimating that the purchase of tablets by businesses will more than triple in four years, going from 13 million units in 2012 to 53 million units by 2016.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons tablet computers are changing the way in which businesses function conventionally.
1. Portable point of sales
Businesses that buy iPads for staff in-store can see the benefits straight away. Point of sales apps for tablets are slowly changing the way shops sell products. Sales assistant can nowadays simply walk up to a customer, show them the product range on an iPad screen, take an order and print out the receipt right on the spot via a portable printer. This new style of processing orders has the potential for replacing a traditional till. There’s even a facility for mobile card reading with services such as Square and the newly launched PayPal iPad app for small businesses.
2. Modernising traditional processes
Tablet computers have helped cut down on paperwork by moving data onto a digital platform. This was the case with specialist insurance provider Lloyd’s of London. It started using iPads to modernise their underwriting services. By 2011, Lloyd’s brokers had replaced hefty paper documents with iPads. With tablet computers offering important business data at any location, employees also get more face-to-face time with colleagues and customers. Senior management at another insurance broker BMS Group - who also introduced iPads - believe that along with streamlining the business process, the tablets encourage face-to-face contact in the London market.
3. On-site project management
Tablets have also been staking their claim on factory floors, construction sites and warehouses. Factory workers can look up inventory and equipment related information while on the move. As important project drawings are now available onsite, construction supervisors can check the quality of on-going work on the spot. Although the iPad was the initial first choice on factory floors, recent trends suggest that cheaper Android devices such as the new Samsung Galaxy Tab are also proving popular in industrial environments, with some manufacturers even coming up with waterproof and shockproof models.
4. Business presentations
Tablets are the nec plus ultra as far as modern business presentations go. Portability and flat screen ensure they can be used on most surfaces (and even held up). There are plenty of apps for Apple’s iPad and Android tablets that can help employees deliver killer presentations in a boardroom or in a more informal setting. Apple’s Keynote for the iPad combines some nifty features such as diverse themes, artistic transition effects and can be remotely controlled by an iPhone. Google’s CloudOn app for Android allows users to access Microsoft Office including PowerPoint. Microsoft has made the latest version of its Office suite more tablet-friendly with easy swipe and tab functions. What’s more, the Presenter View can now be customised to any projection set up and it can also be used on a single monitor.