Tablets, Tablets Everywhere: Enterprise Adoption and Applications
July 11, 2011 5 Comments
Recently published statistics indicate that tablet adoption is taking off. Here are a few examples.
- Seeking Alpha analyzes Apple’s iPad 2 sales estimates and characterizes the sales pipeline for the top-selling tablet as “the mother of all backlogs.”
- ComputerWorld suggests that Android is emerging as the top market competitor to the iPad and sales of Android tablets could rise steeply compared to Apple.
- Fast Company cites the Mobile Workforce Report from iPass and offers up the possibility that up to 75% of mobile workers could own tablets by the end of the year and will expect IT to support them.
The Consumerization of IT
These statistics reflect a growing trend known as the consumerization of IT. According to ComputerWorld, “Gartner estimates that 69.8 million media tablets will be shipped in 2011, and analysts and forward-thinking tech managers say it’s time for IT to do more than simply take note of that surge.”
This trend has been challenging companies to embrace their employees’ rapid adoption of new mobile device technologies as smartphones and tablets have proliferated in the marketplace..
Finding secure ways to integrate tablets with enterprise applications and information is both a challenge and an opportunity. How do you publish line of business applications that consume and display sensitive information such as
- confidential corporate financial data, and
- intellectual property and trade secrets?
I would argue this is not feasible yet with employee-owned consumer iPad devices. In this respect future versions of Android should give Google an early edge in the built-for-the-Enterprise tablet application category due to one key feature: the ability to support multiple user profiles. With business applications running on profiles “owned” by the Enterprise, IT should be able to retain control over such sensitive information, even when it resides on employee-owned devices
Enterprise Adoption of iPads
But it’s not just employees bringing devices from home who are driving tablet adoption. Pioneering enterprises in a variety of industries are purchasing large numbers of iPads for internal applications. Despite the fact that the iPad and iPad 2 are designed to be consumer devices, Apple encourages this growth by providing enterprise support for iOS4 to enable IT departments to control and secure corporate-owned devices.
Android Applications Built for the Enterprise
Android Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich bring to the table enterprise security features that promise to make Android tablets appealing to Enterprises. These features, combined with OEM-provided Enterprise app stores that can be brought in-house may give IT the control of app distribution it needs to maintain corporate compliance and support both employee and company tablets. Another advantage of these app stores is selective access to specialized pre-built apps that interact with popular line-of-business applications.
Earlier adopters are also extending the capabilities of earlier Android OS versions to redefine the tablet’s role in the enterprise. In May, I had the opportunity to participate in developer boot camp co-sponsored by the AT&T Foundry and Cisco. The event showcased the new Cisco Cius tablet, an Android 2.3 device with added Enterprise security features. The Cius integrates with Cisco’s IP telephony, telepresence, and networking solutions to provide a true 21st century device. Developers can access Cisco’s suite of APIs to build simple Android clients that access these network capabilities. Add in an HSPA+ chip to enable access to AT&T’s 4G network in off-campus settings, and the Cius becomes a truly mobile Enterprise multimedia tablet.
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jbarber_slalom.
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