iPads Should Fit Right In on Trade Show Floor

Ann All
Slide Show

Five Considerations when Deploying the iPad in Your Business

Factors to consider before deploying the iPad.

I've written several times about logical business uses of Apple's iPad, including making sales presentations to clients. In addition to the iPad's large, sharp touchscreen display, sales staff appreciate not having to wait for the device to boot up when they show videos or conduct online demonstrations. The iPad also has a long battery life and can import and export documents, spreadsheets and presentations in Microsoft Office formats of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. At least one company that crunched the numbers, business intelligence software provider MicroStrategy, says the iPad's cost of ownership is lower than a laptop.


Knowing all this, I can't believe I didn't think of a pretty obvious use for an iPad: wowing potential customers at a trade show. That's what medical device manufacturer Medtronic Inc. did last April, using 10 iPads in its booth at a German trade show. It was "a huge success," says company CIO Michael Hedges in a Computerworld story.


No doubt part of the reason the iPads were such a draw for attendees was due to the fact the device hadn't yet debuted in Europe. But sales folks liked the instant access to data and video offered by the iPad so much, Hedges bought more of them. A little over 10 percent of Medtronic's workforce of 40,000 now use iPads.


Trade shows continue to struggle in the post-recession economy, as companies weigh the benefits of attending the events vs. the costs associated with them. The once-mighty Comdex became an all-virtual event last spring. For exhibitors, especially, the costs can be quite high. As Eric Weaver, the former marketing communications director for a firewall company, told IT Business Edge's Susan Hall for a story on trade shows:

We'd drop $30,000 on a booth, another $10,000 on shipping, $20,000 on personnel and maybe $5,000 on promotional schwag-and we'd do at least six or eight shows a year.

Lots of companies were offering iPads as a lure to enter drawings (and relinquish the coveted contact information) at a trade event I attended in September. But I haven't seen anyone using them as laptop replacements. It seems like a great idea for companies that still want to attend trade events but to cut costs and increase efficiencies wherever they can.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Nov 11, 2010 12:35 PM Julio Barros Julio Barros  says:

I have an app called 6S Slide Show in the app store that you may be interested in.  Its a really simple image based presentation viewer.  You can import images from your photos folder, through iTunes or through Dropbox and organize them in your presentation.  The idea is that the app is always ready to do your presentation/pitch.  It also supports vga video out.

It is free for one presentation so you can try it out and there is an in app purchase if you decide its a useful tool.  There's more info at http://www.e-string.com/6S  Thanks.



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