Tablets & The Enterprise
The summer slowdown in news is definitely kicking in, but a couple of items out there show that brisk tablet sales are influencing consumer habits with implications for the enterprise.
“Consumer preference for mobile computing devices is shifting from notebook to tablet PCs, particularly in mature markets,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. “While the lines between tablet and notebook PCs are blurring, we expect mature markets to be the primary regions for tablet PC adoption. New entrants are tending to launch their initial products in mature markets. Services and infrastructure needed to create compelling new usage models are often better established in mature markets.”
No word from NPD on how this shift works in the enterprise. But my take is that is will be slower, as business users rely on more keyboard intensive apps like email and word processing versus content consumption. If I’m right about that, Microsoft’s Surface begins to make more sense as a device that can straddle the worlds of the laptop and the tablet.
Gartner reports that consumers are shifting away from books and magazines towards tablets for reading:
Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, notes that tablets scored much higher as a printed matter replacement than phones or PCs.
“The rapid adoption of media tablets is substantively changing how consumers access, create and share content,” she writes. “On average, one in three respondents used their media tablets to read a book, compared with 13 percent for mobile PCs, and 7 percent for mobile phones.”
In fact, at home tablets seem to stand in a class of their own for consumers, in that they are used alongside whatever else a consumer is using; meanwhile, that “whatever else” is often shifting, from TV to PC to mobile device depending on what users are doing. Tablets, Gartner notes, are used most in the living room (87 percent), the bedroom (65 percent) and kitchen (47 percent), and less on the weekends than on weekdays, when we tend to be out of the house more.
In business, I think this plays out in interesting ways. Field service personnel can rely on tablets for manuals, assured that they will always have the latest versions. Could you combine a service like DocuSign with a tablet to deliver contracts for sales reps to execute in the field? And I think the writing is on the wall for corporate collateral like employee handbooks and benefits brochures.
Finally, I really like the tagline from this infographic from TekServe, a leading Apple reseller in New York: “Mobile is not the Future. Mobile is the present.” Here’s how TekServe pulls together the latest numbers:
How do you think tablets will change the enterprise? Post your ideas in the comments below.