A Revolution in Mobility

By  Martha Walz — March 07, 2011

Without a doubt, 2011 is the year of the tablet. With the launch of Apple’s iPad last spring and the 80+ tablets that were introduced at CES this year, tablets are the hottest new technology around. But are they really all that new?

Enterprise-grade tablets have been in existence for about a decade, but they haven’t garnered nearly the same amount of attention in the enterprise as the iPad and its competitors. Part of that is due to the “shiny new toy” factor: C-level executives are buying these devices and bringing them into their enterprises, wanting to connect them to their corporate networks.

When they realize that they can actually be used for “legitimate” business purposes, they roll them out in other areas of their enterprise as well, such as to the salesforce or home healthcare workers.

But all of that is about to change. In this month’s cover article, “The Tablet (R)evolution,” we examine the role of the tablet from a historical perspective, from the 1800s (!) through the present day. We also report preliminary data from a survey that we jointly conducted with The 451 Group on tablet use in the enterprise. We examine how tablets are being used today and how they will transform business processes in the future.

Healthcare has taken the lead so far in tablet deployment, followed closely by the financial sector, government, hospitality, and salesforce automation.

Enterprises are finally starting to think of mobility as a part of their business strategies as a whole, not just as a side project. They are examining what they want to accomplish in their businesses with mobility, and it turns out that tablets are nicely filling these niche needs. As enterprises develop even more business applications for the tablet, they will transform the way we work and perhaps even make some current technologies obsolete.

One year from now, tablets will be used in ways we can’t even imagine today, to solve business problems we didn’t even know we had.

To be sure, the tablet is not a fad, it indeed hails a revolution in mobility.

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