It seems everyone wants a tablet, but not everyone is thinking about how it'll fit into the course of a workday. Here, Swanson, owner of SRV Network, an IT solution provider in Chicago, offers tips on helping clients determine if tablets are a good fit, and how to sell customers on the benefits of the devices. — Jennifer Bosavage, editor
Now that Amazon has entered the tablet market, most integrators are facing issues similar to when smart phones first appeared. Clients began purchasing without taking into account how they planned to use them and then handed the product off to integrators in order for them to make it work within their particular environment, rarely taking into consideration what specific applications and features they may need. The same is now true with the tablet: It is an efficient tool, but IT solution providers should help customers determine how it will be used within the enterprise before purchase.
Tablets can revolutionize the way that people do business, yet many potential buyers might wonder what a tablet can do that a laptop cannot. And, while tablets do come with a unique set of abilities, they also come with unique drawbacks.
When selling a tablet, consider the daily requirements of the consumer. Certain industries are quite compatible with a tablet and they can make life much simpler for these consumers, including:
• Real estate agents: Real estate agents are often on the road, traveling from site to site, which means that they need a handy, portable personal computer. A tablet is lighter than a laptop and easier to carry, as well as more convenient to store. The browsing capabilities and clear screen images will allow prospective buyers to easily scroll through listings on location.
• Sales executives: Sales meetings often occur outside the office, meaning that the sales exec has to travel with all of the necessary information and presentation material. A tablet will allow for easy transportation, and all of the materials will be right at the client’s fingertips.
• Guerilla marketing initiatives: Many companies now host competitions and surveys on-site at sports games and concerts. Instead of having concert-goers or sports fans fill out tedious paperwork at the event, they can write down their personal information on a tablet quickly and clearly. This means they can get back to the game without delay, which means more respondents and more accurate information.
Tablets can also suit the needs of many other industries, and they have numerous benefits that consumers might consider worthwhile. Most obviously, they allow users to read information on a screen much larger than a smartphone, but without having to worry about the weight and start-up time of a laptop. They also let users browse through documents, emails and Web sites, as well as calendars and contacts. Additionally, tablets can handle small amounts of data entry easily, which means consumers won’t need to fumble for a pen and paper at meetings or on the road.
It is also worth noting that tablets even let users remote access to their office PCs, which means that they can have access all of their applications and email, and its wireless ability provides access via local connections. And, although tablets are easily portable and smaller than even the most compact laptop, the screen size is clear and easily readable. The average screen size is 10 or 12 inches, which makes reading emails and data simple and hassle-free, and the tablet PC screen has enough pixels for users to see the smallest amount of detail with little delay time.
Of course, tablets aren’t suitable for the needs of every industry. They aren’t ideal for long hours of data entry, and printing can be problematic. Furthermore, not all of one’s preferred software titles will run, and, because many tablets don’t have a dedicated keyboard, consumers are forced to use to the touch screen, which can become tiresome. Tablet PCs also have a lower performance than a regular desktop, so they may not be as reliable.
Thankfully, there are a wide variety of tablets on the market and each option attempts to resolve some of these drawbacks. For example, the Asus Transformer comes with a physical keyboard, and the Android Tablet comes with a USB port for a keyboard, mouse, and hard drive. Other options include the Samsung Galaxy (which has a high screen resolution at 1280 x 800), the Motorola Xoom (which is HDMI port easy with the correct cable), and the iPad 2 (which has a 10-hour battery).
As you can see, each of those options can complement almost every industry and every consumer’s unique needs. Today’s business world requires almost immediate turn-around time, as well as the ability to be mobile and connected to the office and the Internet at all times. With a tablet, that objective can be easily accomplished.