ipad business useA twitter conversation the other day led me to think, there are still many who don't have the iPad justified in their minds. Since it first came out people argued about how it would or would not replace laptops. What I think most found out since its launch, is that it was settled nicely between just a book reader and a laptop. Of course, the iPad just hasn't proven to be a laptop replacement; most apps are still greatly or slightly chopped down versions of their fill programs, and you still can't run an adequate photoshop type program. (As I type this, I realize someone could easily tell me I'm wrong and show me.) None-the-less, so long as I'm not running a Macbook/PC dependent app or I need to use Photoshop. My laptop stays home. I've really gotten used to take my iPad instead. Here are some ways we use the iPad as a company, resulting is far less laptop use (not to mention less laptop repairs, updates, and general pain.) How we use the iPad:

Sales are going to find using the iPad really easy, unless they have some special software they need to have on the road with them. Same for marketing and operations, so long as there isn't special proprietary software needed:

  • Presentations (Keynote/Powerpoint) Believe it or not. One can give a good presentation on the iPad. It's harder, if you are a good public speaker you know what I mean, not having your body to work with can be tough. If you aren't to that point in speaking, it probably won't matter. Cooler than this, my Sales Manager uses the VGA adapter or the component cables to hook up to an inFocus or straight to the flat screen. He's now giving just about the same presentation (minus a few features that can be overlooked) he would have with his laptop. Pretty shiny no? :) Apple component connectors.
  • Project Showcase. Any good salesman worth his weight will have photos of products, or catalogs, or samples, or whatever. iPad is a dream for that, the beautiful display makes it fun to show your newest products. Need to put it up on a screen? No worries, see above.
  • Library of important docs Traveling for business, you simply can't take it all with you but having a complete library of important PDF's like price lists and catalogs is easy in the iPad.
  • Expenses & Notes One of the best reasons to own an iPad for business, the ability to keep notes. I'm not going to go into all the great apps for this, but I use a stylus to write directly into one notebook and I use Evernote to keep information, see my previous post about it here.
  • Following Social Network You could do this on your iPhone, Android, laptop, MacBook, and any new tablet coming out. You can check what people are saying about you on the internet, it's not just something you can do on the iPad but it's easier to carry than your desktop.

Citrix.com also has some great examples by industry:

Healthcare - Great for medical practitioners accessing EMR apps and schedules, doctors reviewing PAC's images, and nurses in bedside care. Used at hospitals, clinics, medical offices and doctors on call from anywhere. With Citrix Receiver, even the most resource intensive Windows 3D rendering applications can now be displayed in detail ( check out the demo ) Insurance Agents - Great for field claims adjusters, office day extenders and local agents working on quotes. All your business applications built for Windows? We've got an app for that! Real Estate Agents - Imagine the power of showing highly visual home tours to customers from the car as you take them around to prospective homes, or even submitting offers from the road. Mobile IT Pros - Who says IT pros have to be boring? Carry around an iPad, and your entire image with end users could take a turn for the better. Now with Citrix Receiver, you can easily access all your Windows support apps, dashboards, and documents. Legal Professionals - Lawyers (who could sometimes use an image boost as well) could also increase their cache by carrying an iPad around while meeting with clients. With Citrix, they'll have full secure access to every document, contract and Nexis-Lexis search, from the car, office or courtroom. Teachers & Students - Ok, maybe this isn't technically a "business" use, but it's definitely one of the industry segments that's most excited about the iPad. With Citrix, everyone from teachers and administrators to students now has easy secure access to all the Windows apps and resources they need... Financial Professionals - Whether you're on the trading floor or with clients, financial pros now have easy, secure access to all their Windows trading apps, dashboards, documents, real-time quotes, Bloomberg Anywhere and portfolio analysis tools. Corporate Campus Workers - The world is full of corporate employees who may not travel extensively, but they spend an awful lot of time walking around the corporate campus, attending meetings, making presentations, reviewing documents (then extending the day at home). Lugging a laptop around campus can be a hassle, Enter the iPad with Citrix Receiver! Remote and Mobile Workers - Finally, whether you're a utility worker, police officer, or anyone who works remotely and needs "always-on" access to Windows business apps, desktops and data, we now have an app for you.

Please note that many of what Citrix states here is done on their software but it isn't required. There are plenty of remote access programs for IT and the like. Yet, their work has made their program that much more useful.

In general, we have cut down on laptop use as well as having to lug one more thing into an already crowed airplane. Our backs are certainly happy. No doubt, with the iPad 2 looming close (March 11th), the doubled processor speed will mean more robust apps than already available. Before long, your proprietary software won't have a problem having an app on the iPad.

Photo by ajleon

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