Author Archives: Larry

Are Tablets Ready for Business?

iPadAir Are tablets ready for business? This is a question asked more each day. Here is how I answer that question. While businesses are asking the question, sales people are carrying their own tablets on sales calls.

I first witnessed this almost four years ago when a salesman I was working with left his big heavy laptop at the office when we left for a day’s work in the field. He did, however, carry his iPad under his arm, which I thought nothing of at the time.

At our first stop, he jumped out of the car, iPad in hand and I watched closely. As we talked with the customer about different products he needed, the salesman recorded each item on the tablet. When asked about a particular item, he brought up a picture from the web, showed the customer, and recorded another sold item on the order for he used.

Did the company issue the iPad? No, it was his own device and was not formally vetted for use in the field by anyone from IT. It was light, fast, easy to carry into an office and it instantly caused a reaction from the people in each office. I was hooked.

Normally between calls, my conversation with the sales person is about the previous call. What went well, what could improve … but not this day. I was asking questions about how he used the tablet in his work day. How did customers and prospects react to it when he was by himself? (It’s always different when two people go in together) Had he witnessed an increase in business by actively engaging the customers with this technology?

That was when I knew the tablet would come into business. It was a natural tool to use in front of customers. It was instantly on, it was easy to hand to the customer to look at a picture or watch a video, and customers were talking and asking questions. This is a customer engaged … a huge plus for any sales person.

I have begun using my Nexus 7 in my daily workflow at the office. I’ll write about the details in another article.

How does your company look at tablets? Has there been any discussion? Are people using their own equipment like they do with their cell phones?

I’d really like to know how this is playing in other industries. Talk to me …

The Next Big Thing

Nexus 7 Tablet Everyone is looking for the “Next Big Thing” and I have good news … it is closer than you think. It started slowly a few years ago and is picking up speed rapidly. I see more and more evidence the explosion will happen soon and you should be ready.

What is the “Next Big Thing?” Tablets. That’s right, tablets. They have taken off in the consumer market and are beginning to move to the business market. The normal progression is underway and it will follow the same course as the laptop and cell phone, with many companies living the value of these devices.

Cell phones slowly moved from consumer to business and really began the BYOD* movement. As with all things, business is hesitant to implement new technology until it has proven itself in several arenas. Those being;

  • Security
  • Price
  • Software availability
  • Tie-in to existing systems
  • Ease of transition
  • Training
  • Implementation

The first two points are being addressed as fast as the manufacturers can move. Security has to be a number one priority for the devices before any IT group will take them seriously. Pricing is important when calculated against existing expenses for outfitting personnel. The software for most modern software is either available as an app or web-based, with the later making almost any application available on mobile devices. Ease of transition, training, and implementation only involves a rock-solid project management plan and team.

The big hold up is the ability to tie into existing systems. This is the one keeping IT departments up at night as upper management pushes to rush tablets into the hands of outside sales people because of all the Pros for doing so. How do you make it so the new device can talk to legacy hardware in the corporate office? That is the big deal that will soon be as irrelevant as how to move a cell phone into the workflow.

Are you ready? Is your company? I suggest you get ready because the train has left the station and is picking up speed.

*Bring Your Own Device

My dream of one device is almost a reality

In early 2004, I dreamed of a single device for computing. I carried a cell phone, Palm T5 PDA and a Dell laptop for “on the go” access and had a desktop computer at the office. No matter what I wanted, it was on one of the other devices. I wanted one piece of hardware to be all that was needed.

I thought it happened in early 2005 when a customer came by the office to show off his OQO Model 1 computer. It was larger than my Palm with its 5” screen, but was still a handheld computer running a full version of Microsoft Windows. With the slide-out keyboard and the desktop dock, I thought this was it. Not exactly.

Disappointment

The hardware just couldn’t handle the bulk of Windows XP. It was slow and awkward with little memory and not enough room for all those big PC programs we ran on our desktops. The price was pretty steep at almost $2000. No, this wasn’t the ONE and I would have to wait a few more months for my one single device.

Android is the Bomb

A few months turned into a few years and now seven years later, it seems the promise of my dream is closer. Yesterday on Droid Life, they linked to a video out of the UK where a Galaxy Nexus was being used as a desktop computer. I’ve known this was possible for some time, but it is awful fussy. It’s still fussy, but the process is getting better.

Galaxy Nexus as a desktop engine

Using the right adapter and a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you can do almost everything on it. With cloud computing and the availability of great apps, one device can be your only piece of hardware.

We now have mobile versions of Mint, Evernote, Documents to Go, along with thousands of others. And if no app is available, just fire up the browser and do your computing from there. With a 20+ inch monitor it will be just fine.

With just a bluetooth keyboard, it makes an awesome mobile computer. Fire up Documents to Go and start drafting a business proposal, or open WordPress and get started on an article with pictures and videos posted straight from your phone.

IMG_0291IMG_0289IMG_0290

Now I’m off to order the usb to mhl adapter for my Nexus.

Is this something your interested in?