The iPod changed the music industry, the stereo component market, the portable music device industry and how we listen in our cars. Now the tablet computer, with the iPad in the early lead, is already changing the PC industry, the virtualization market, the Web site design arena, the publishing industry and dozens of others.
Some IT departments are resisting the tablet, but the fact is as more of us buy personal iPads and other makes, we are going to pressure CIOs to make them functional as a work device. An accessorized iPad can very easily stand up to a notebook computer today. With a virtualized desktop deployment, it becomes even more powerful. There are really just a few things that I and many other executives need when we travel -- access to e-mail, the ability to write and the ability to look at spreadsheets. All of these can be accomplished on a tablet and it gets easier with a wireless keyboard. So why should I be forced to lug a notebook?
My point here is the tablet is a huge sales opportunity for solution providers, and the sooner you begin thinking about how you can deploy it to solve customer needs the better.
Those of us in the publishing industry are excited about the opportunity it brings to allow us to distribute our information in a very usable format. Current Web sites do not truly allow for the type of information presentation that the print medium did. They don’t truly allow an editor to decide what’s important and place it in front of the reader in a way that shows that. Stories on a Web site are more of a rolling list of headlines than they are a thoughtfully selected group presented in an easy-to-scan and read format the way print was.
Tablets not only bring that ability back, they take it to the next level by giving us the ability to present in a well-designed layout and update it constantly throughout the day. And it’s all searchable -- unlike print, but just like a Web site.
The future of computing belongs to mobility, and for too long we have all pretended that the notebook computer offers just that -- it touches on it, but it never has really gotten the job done.
The information Web site of the future will be optimized and built for tablets, not the PC. This presents a real opportunity to push design and application development into new areas. In an overused analogy, we have a “perfect storm” brewing where desktop virtualization is coming on just as the tablet is making its run. And they really are made for each other.
If I were looking to start a solution provider business today I would focus it around desktop virtualization and mobile application development and design with a strong focus on the tablet.
My bet is within two years there will be several members on the CRN Fast Growth 100 list that are doing just this.
The insurance adjustment market is another area that is ripe for rapid deployment of tablets. Ask any field adjuster if he or she would rather assess a job and complete the “paperwork” (why do we still call it that?) via a notebook or a tablet and you know what the answer would be.
VMware and Apple are going to be clear winners in this, but there will be many others as well. Solution providers really need to think about having alliances that can help them capture this opportunity.
BACKTALK: Make something happen. Robert Faletra is CEO of Everything Channel. You can contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.