IT Business Edge blogger Rob Enderle periodically addresses the question of whether Apple will catch on in the enterprise. He mentions the iPhone as a possible point of entry in this post from September. ITBE's Art Cole hit that point even harder in a post from last month. He wrote:
With the iPhone emerging as the most popular mobile device and a new generation of wireless workers hitting the workforce, it just may be that the enterprise infrastructure of old will no longer be the primary means of exchanging information. As the iPhone gains in the enterprise, whose technology offers the best support for it?
I recently saw a Los Angeles Times article that got me wondering whether another Apple device initially targeted to consumers, the iPod, could hold business appeal. I'm not talking about boosting employee productivity by letting them jam to their favorite tunes as they work -- though I suppose that's a possibility. The article makes it clear the iPod could be a terrific medium for training and other video applications, something that lots of CIOs expressed interest in when questioned earlier this year by Robert Half Technology.
The article describes how medical students at Ohio State University use iPods to watch video of medical treatments and review images of the human body and organs. They can also show patients photos to help identify medications they've taken before new meds are dispensed. Ohio State plans to provide all of its medical students with the devices, which will be equipped with special medical software, within two years.
I think there are all kinds of fairly obvious business applications for folks that don't need a full-fledged iPhone, from service technicians in the field using such devices to learn new techniques and more accurately troubleshoot issues to warehouse workers viewing video of proper safety procedures.