The new iPad arrived in stores just a few months ago. It is hard to believe that this little device has been around for little more than two years now. It seems I can’t get to a coffee shop without seeing someone checking mail, browsing websites, or just playing games. It’s obvious that the iPad is popular for home and recreation, but what if I want the iPad to work for me?
Apple has made it abundantly clear that some very big names in a variety of industries are adopting the device to perform a variety of roles. There is an entire section of their website devoted to the iPad’s business successes. American Airlines is replacing the heavy flight manuals pilots once had to carry. General Electric has an entire department called the Mobile Center of Excellence dedicated to building in house applications for deployment across their many projects.
These industry giants clearly have the resources to develop their own applications and deploy this new technology throughout their fields. But what about small businesses? Is it worth it for any small business to invest in the iPad? A study conducted by the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal shows that the percentage of small business answering “yes” to this question has jumped from 9 percent in 2010 to an astounding 34 percent in 2011.
It isn’t enough to just jump on this bandwagon if you want success with adopting this technology. Like with any investment in technology, make sure you have a need for the investment. With all the hype over the iPad, it is easy to get the idea that making it a part of your business will automatically make things easier and more efficient. Investing with that attitude will cause you to work for your iPad and not the other way around.
Integrating mobile devices into your business also means ensuring that your network can handle the increase in bandwidth and number of devices. Find out from the experts and do some testing before you dive in the mobile device pool head first.
If you want your iPad to work for you, keep these things in mind:
1. Have a need or problem to solve first. Don’t invest and then start looking for what to do with your investment.
2. Research what applications are available that can work with your business now. There are already over 2500 applications designed for business available in Apple’s App Store.
3. Research the cost of developing your own applications. If it isn’t in the App Store already, there are a number of companies that will develop applications for you. This increases the investment, but you gain unique functionality you won’t get otherwise.
4. Find out what third party products you need. It may be a stand, credit card swiper, or a waterproof case. Whatever your business, chances are you will need a little more than just the iPad
The key to all of this is the understanding that the iPad is a tool. It is up to you to decide what that tool is and how it can be used. Once you have that worked out, your iPad will be working for you and not the other way around.