Digital Transformation | Hybrid Cloud | IoT

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tablet Use in Business to Gain Momentum in 2012

The early-adopter trials have begun, the commercial apps are being developed -- it's now a given, purpose-built tablets will be used in more mainstream business settings during 2012. Besides, executives and IT managers at multinational companies will likely witness this phenomenon first, particularly in the more advanced markets.

According to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), media tablet shipments in EMEA reached more than 12 million units in the first three quarters of 2011 -- growing to 20 million units by the end of the year.

Although business purchases currently represent less than 10 percent of the entire tablet market, the near-term opportunity for growth from business use is believed to be significant -- including online collaboration applications.

Functionality such as a touch screen user-interface, portability, secure LAN connectivity and more business apps for vertical industry needs, are all factors that demonstrate the potential value in commercial settings.

Introducing Media Tablets into the Enterprise

IDC recently conducted a study across businesses in Western Europe to understand the perceptions of tablet adoption, intention to purchase, applications for specific business needs, preference for features, and acquisition strategies.

The key takeaways from the IDC study include:

Adoption Trend: More than 48 percent of businesses have either already evaluated and are keen to introduce tablets or purchased a few, and many verticals pointed to interest in purchasing tablets by the first and second half of 2012. With evident uptake among the IT services, professional services industry, other sectors such as transport and storage, utilities and distribution are showing strong interest.

Perception of Adoption: More than 22 percent of businesses think that the present generation of tablets defined by Apple iPad, are more suitable to their needs -- for example, meter reading, inventory management -- rather than their present equipment, such as traditional tablet devices or vertical application devices.

App Usage in Business: Applications and usage of tablets in businesses vary depending on the industry. Mainstream business use for tablets are as presentation tools during customer meetings and to remotely check emails and calendars. But tablets are suited for several key vertical applications such as:
  • Equipment maintenance, meter-reading (water, gas, electricity), proof-of-service in the field service category.
  • Asset and inventory management, telematics and direct store delivery in the storage and logistics, travel, and distribution verticals.

Tablet User Preference: While iOS and Android receive a strong response rate, more than 30 percent of respondents would consider a Windows OS-based tablet. While some businesses are price-sensitive, others would pay up to 50 percent above the standard price to have the most suitable tablet. Features vary depending on the business use-case; whether for the choice of screen size, or ruggedized features:
  • Transport and storage and distribution sectors prefer to have barcode scanners, SD card readers, and cameras.
  • Finance sectors prefer features such as credit card readers, signature capture, and HDD with encryption.

Deployment and Acquisition Strategy: Most businesses favor partnering directly with OEMs and traditional resellers with few verticals interested in partnering with ISVs. Virtualization and cloud-based solutions are the top preferred technologies considered to support tablet devices.

IDC believes that tablets now are a credible client device option, and in some cases they better fulfill the needs which are only partially met by traditional devices. They say that while some companies are in a wait-and-see mode, the forward-thinking leaders and early-adopters are already keen to deploy solutions.