New research by AMI-Partners has concluded that the adoption of tablets in SMBs is increasing, with the analyst company estimating that the deployment rate will rise to 30 to 35 percent by 2015. Though current penetration of tablets in small- and mid-sized businesses stands at just 3 percent today, AMI noted that this was achieved in a mere year since the launch of the original iPad. And for all the criticisms levied on the business viability of the iPad, the tablet's generous screen size and sheer popularity have made it the predominant option at the moment for businesses.
Of the findings, Michael McDonald, senior associate at AMI-Partners, said:
The tablet PC has almost limitless potential in the SMB space where the device can entrench itself as a valuable resource essential to the on-the-go businessman.
The survey was conducted using 7,800 SMBs worldwide and actual penetration appears to vary by industry type. As reported by InformationWeek, the penetration of tablets appears to be strongest in the health care, professional services, hospitality and media verticals. What is interesting is the correlation between cloud software and tablet early adopters; small companies that make use of cloud-based document collaboration software registered more than 50 percent higher than the norm.
On this front, the company thinks that the statistics merely underscored the increasing mobility of smaller companies. My personal sentiment, however, is that the portability and usability of tablets merely encourage the use of cloud resources to access or store large repositories of information that the tablets simply don't have storage capacity for. The irony is that smaller companies tend to have far fewer restrictions that might have stymied cloud use due to compliance regulations or existing IT policies on the storage and transmissions of confidential information.
Given the sometimes illogical hype surrounding the iPad, some readers are probably somewhat skeptical of actual business use for the tablet device. I certainly don't think that the iPad 2 is a post-PC device, though I'll be the first to praise its versatility and battery stamina. On that front, I assembled 10 different business uses for the iPad earlier this year, which you can read in "Five Business Uses for Your Apple iPad" and "Five More Business Uses for Your Apple iPad."
In addition, I've personally used the iPad as a convenient way to surreptitiously transmit short messages to speakers on a stage. This was done using a trio of iPads linked wirelessly via VNC (Virtual Network Computing) to a laptop running the display software; the iPads were then placed on the stage and angled where only the speaker could see them.
Perform a partial evaluation on tablets' strengths before dismissing them outright and you will be pleasantly surprised at some of the business applications for which they can be used.