Tablets Shift From Consumption To Creation

By Stephanie Blanchard, Digital Editor — July 11, 2013

Tablets may have started out as a passive form factor, but the devices are quickly changing the way employees do business and even the device makers are pushing for total solutions to move from consumption to creating.

bigtincan, a content and productivity platform provider, recently released findings from its Content Intelligence Report, which confirms that tablets are no longer for just reading email and browsing websites. In fact, users are embracing the form factor as an active, productive tool: more than half of all interactions with a tablet now involve some sort of task — annotating, editing and publishing content.

“Content creation is largely driven by the employee,” said David Keane, CEO, bigtincan, in an interview with Mobile Enterprise. Keane explained since field and sales teams were the first generation of tablet deployments, they naturally were the first users to want these features. However, this demand has recently become widespread. “Now, there is a meeting inside the office, with participants carrying devices to the table. It’s moving to knowledge workers.”

The enterprise, he noted, should not stop the process. Rather, “they need to enable an environment they can manage.”

According to the report, users are currently drawn to PDFs and HMTL5, as well as Powerpoint, for common file types, but are still shying away from Microsoft Word and Excel documents. This is expected to change, however. “Users are still getting used to the fact that they can do things like that on the form factor,” Keane said. “They aren’t comfortable doing complex tables, for example, but basic spreadsheets can be done very well on a touchscreen device.”

This fact is confirmed by the active users of iPresent’s interactive and customizable content distribution platform. The company recently launched a content-driven sales tool for the iPad and found that PDFs, PowerPoint and videos are the most used type of tablet content.

Video Collaboration
Speaking of videos, results from the IDC Worldwide Enterprise Videoconferencing and Telepresence Qview showed videoconferencing equipment revenue declined 13.2% year over year and 21.9% quarter over quarter in Q1. Yet, video collaboration is in demand, and moving to the tablet.

"Video as a key component of collaboration continues to place high on the list of priorities for many organizations,” said Petr Jirovsky, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Networking Trackers Research in a May press release. “But key questions going forward now include: How will these video collaboration solutions be deployed? With more software or hardware? And, as premise or cloud-based solutions?"

One company that is aware of the trend towards video collaboration is MicroStrategy, Inc., a provider of enterprise software platforms. The company’s Mobile App Platform now integrates with Cisco's unified communications client application so business apps can be embedded with video collaboration.

The company has looked at the increasing interest over the last 12 months, said Tim Bradley, SVP, MicroStrategy, in an interview with Mobile Enterprise. More clients have asked for the capability, he noted, and the healthcare market in particular has driven the change.

As major changes take place in the health sector, along with the dynamics involved in bringing on millions of previously uninsured individuals, video collaboration is definitely in demand.  In addition, retail and financial services have also seen greater needs to incorporate voice and video with the capability to analyze data.

Video collaboration — being able to have voice, video and share dynamically — is the “holy grail,” Bradley said. Think of an NFL commentator drawing on a replay as they announce to the audience. This dual capability is now available to employees who can interact with data as they discuss plans and actions with colleagues or clients via their tablets.

“Clearly tablets are establishing themselves as the way we are doing business in many different functions, in many different industries,” Bradley said.

The Mobile Web
As mobile devices become prevalent, companies have to adapt to accommodate the different form factors. Comm100, for example, a provider of enterprise-level customer service and communication solutions, recently upgraded its Live Chat solution with a redesigned interface just for mobile devices. Previously, users accessed the solution through a website version. But because the version was not optimized for a smaller screen, users had to manually adjust.

With the redesign, mobile users can easily access optimized visitor-side and offline message windows. According to the company’s press release, the upgrade also includes an updated app for iPhone and iPad devices that enables operators to remotely and seamlessly chat with website visitors.

“We understand the shift to mobile is occurring on both sides, the consumer and the business, so we make sure our solutions proactively change along with the times,” said Kevin Gao, Founder and CEO of Comm100, in a company statement.

One Last Question
If content creation is driven by the employee, does BYOD play a part?

"We’re not seeing tablets as a driver of BYOD like the way smartphones are," said Mitch Black, President, MOBI, in an email to Mobile Enterprise. "However, we clearly see the increased use of tablets in the enterprise." For example, MOBI has seen 15% growth among its enterprise customers - in just the last three months alone.

"A stark majority of those tablets are corporate owned, not BYOD," Black noted.
He attributes the rapid increase to three specific things: advancing tablet capabilities, familiarity, and value.

"Tablets are becoming a better and better value for enterprises," he said. "The hardware costs are coming down slowly, technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and more productivity-based cloud computing options are becoming available every day."

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