by Tara Wagner, a staff writer for TechBreach
Ever since tablets hit the scene, business owners haven’t known quite what to do with them. Whilst they’re phenomenally useful in some industries, the tablet app market is still maturing, and it’s not always obvious whether they’re worth the investment. If you’re sitting on the fence about purchasing tablets for your employees, the following thoughts may help you take the plunge (or save your company money).
Trends in the industry
By far the biggest consumers of tablets are businesses. At tech companies like Yahoo, Samsung, Intel or Nvidia, they’re just about everywhere.
Tech companies are usually early adopters of revolutionary tech—but they’re also inclined to buy into silly fads’ Remember when Segways were the thing?
If your business is involved in retail or service industry, though, you might find tablets to be a practical investment.
Small restaurants and stores are replacing their point-of-sale (PoS) systems with tablets.
Attach a card-reading dongle (most of which are virtually all free with service) and your company is ready for business without ever needing a specialised install.
Tablets as replacements
Many companies look at tablets as an inexpensive replacement for laptops or even desktop computers.
While they currently have nowhere near the processing power of a desktop, most tablets are easily adapted to wordprocessing with the addition of an inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard, and designed to work well at browsing the internet and composing emails.
Many tablets being released also feature a small HDMI-out port that allow them to hook into a TV or larger monitor, essentially turning the tablet into a mini workstation.
For presentations, they are often much more intuitive to set up and connect to projectors or televisions, and are much more portable and require less power than a standard laptop computer.
For travelling representatives, they fit into carry-on luggage easily without requiring a separate laptop bag, and have similar if not longer battery lives.
The Microsoft Surface tablet even has a version of their Windows 8 operating system that is essentially unchanged from the desktop version, making the transition to a tablet much easier for those new to the realm of mobile devices.
Many businesses are finding that replacing laptops with tablets for older employees can reduce the pain of carpal tunnel or arthritis.
Security is one of the biggest worries that businesses have when adopting new technology.
For stores that employ tablets in-store and don’t want customers or employees using them for unintended purposes.
So, most development companies that specialise in kiosk-style software include the ability to lock the functions of the tablet for approved purposes only.
Corporate security is also something to consider, as tablets are much small are therefore more easily lost or stolen.
There are apps available that can not only lock your tablet if it’s taken, but can track its location as well, or completely format the mobile devices content.
Will tablets save, cost, or make your company money? It depends on how you choose to incorporate tablets into your business culture.
If tablets replace older tech like laptops, registers, and card readers, they’ll almost certainly save you money.
The type of tablet you buy will also go a long way in determining cost-effectiveness.
If your industry is heavily visual, involving presentations, editing with CAD, or designing games, you’ll need to buy a high-end tablet, or stick with more traditional devices.
However, if wordprocessing, basic presentations, email, internet use, or POS service is more likely, pick up a mid-range model.
Never buy a ‘no-name’ tablet—miniaturization is a sophisticated process, and it demands quality work.
Tara Wagner is a staff writer for TechBreach. She has worked from home for over a decade, and loves sharing news and advice with fellow telecommuting moms and dads. She’s fascinated by new tech and new ideas; and when she finds time to unplug, she enjoys long hikes in the mountains near her home. She lives in Denver.