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iPad Makes its Mark in the Enterprise

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The continued growth of the BYOD (bring your own device) trend is driving a surge in the adoption of tablets in the enterprise. Employees seeking to use the devices they know and love in the workplace are pushing their IT managers to integrate the devices with their corporate systems. And riding this BYOD wave into the enterprise is Apple’s iPad. The iPad is a particularly attractive business tool due to its portability

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The continued growth of the BYOD (bring your own device) trend is driving a surge in the adoption of tablets in the enterprise. Employees seeking to use the devices they know and love in the workplace are pushing their IT managers to integrate the devices with their corporate systems. And riding this BYOD wave into the enterprise is Apple’s iPad. The iPad is a particularly attractive business tool due to its portability and features that facilitate collaboration. As such, the iPad can become a supercharged unified communications endpoint, allowing users to enhance their productivity.

Just how popular have tablets become?
The overall tablet market, led by the iPad, has witnessed rapid growth over the last few years. In fact, recent data from global market intelligence provider IDC highlighted the tablet’s rise in popularity, noting that sales in 2012 were up 78.4 percent over 2011, with a total shipment volume of 128 million units. Furthermore, IDC analysts predict tablet sales will surpass sales of desktop PCs and portable PCs in 2013, reaching 190 million units.

“The pressure on the PC market is significantly increasing and we can see longer replacement cycles coming into effect very soon and that, too, will put downward pressure on PC sales,” Megha Saini, Research Analyst for IDC’s Worldwide Smart Connected Device Tracker, said in a statement.

Benefits of Using an iPad/Tablet for Business

One of the main factors contributing to the success of the iPad in the enterprise is that tablets can be used for such a broad array of tasks and purposes. Furthermore, businesses can create custom apps to utilize the device in the way that best fits their needs. There have already been many success stories that highlight the business case for the iPad, and more are likely to emerge as trends like BYOD push enterprise adoption rates higher.

The iPad for Emergency Management
Emergency Management contributor Margaret Steen explored one success story, detailing how emergency managers are increasingly making use of tablets due to their mobility and connectivity. Steen shared the story of a heavy hail storm that occurred in Montgomery County, Ky., in March, hitting and damaging roughly 150 homes. The county’s emergency management director Wesley Delk used a tablet in order to take notes and geotag photos as he assessed the damage to the community.

While tablets weren’t designed as an emergency response tool, it is clear that they are still able to fit the purpose. Tablets can be used to improve the efficiency of emergency management. For example, workers can use the devices to fill out and send documents between field officers and leverage GPS, weather apps and GIS for situational awareness. Geoffrey Bartlett, director of emergency management at Tufts University in Boston, indicated that he uses his tablet because it is easier to carry on him, allowing him to better perform his job. Bartlett uses his tablet to take and search his notes, store critical documents like the university’s emergency operations plan, send warnings out to the campus community about emergencies and crimes, monitor social media and perform on-site training.

Small Business Tablet Use
The tablet’s value in the corporate world is not limited to more extreme occupations. In a recent Greenville Online article, contributor Amy Clarke Burns reported that many small businesses are adopting tablets in an effort to improve customer service and boost bottom lines. Burns shared the story of a local dentist, Dr. Judson Suber, who uses the iPad to review digital X-ray images with patients. Dr. Suber stressed that using the tablet allows him to better interact with patients and build positive relationships, noting that it has helped him break down the barrier where patients have trouble making sense of what he tells them regarding oral health.

Modern technology like the iPad is being implemented by many different types of businesses, from doctor’s offices and exam rooms, to coffee houses, remote support companies and retail stores. Scott Whelchel, business consultant for the Greenville Small Business Development Center shared some insight into the use of the iPad:

“Even very traditional basic service businesses, such as the landscaper, mechanic, fundamental businesses that have been around for decades, can utilize common technology to improve their management,” Whelchel said. “It doesn’t always radically change the nature of the business, but it can improve the fundamental performance of the business.”

Leveraging the iPad for Customer and Internal Communications

While tablets are valuable for a wide range of work purposes, one of the main uses is for communications, whether messaging, voice, document sharing, video conferencing or other activities. The iPad can be used for external communications to provide exceptional customer service as well as for collaboration solutions to boost internal communications. In fact, with ShoreTel’s unified communications services, including ShoreTel Mobility, the iPad can make use of VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology to take advantage of affordable calling.

ShoreTel Solutions

ShoreTel, leading provider of brilliantly simple unified business communications solutions, provides two offerings that fall in line with enterprise iPad adoption: ShoreTel Mobility and ShoreTel Conferencing for iOS offerings also have measures in place to assure security, including integrated VPN SSL encryption that is enabled automatically. These two applications were designed to help optimize business use of the Apple iPad, turning it into the ultimate communication tool by enabling integrated collaboration capabilities and increased accessibility no matter where the user is located.

ShoreTel Mobility
ShoreTel Mobility provides a native iPad user interface that enables multi-modal communications. With only a simple swipe of the finger, users can place and receive calls with a business persona, send and receive instant messages, listen to voicemail and create multi-party calls by simply dragging names from enterprise directories together.

“(ShoreTel Mobility client for the iPad) enables greater mobile communications for all - while minimizing the demand on our IT department for support,” said Hernan London, associate CIO at Barry University.

ShoreTel Conferencing for iOS
ShoreTel Conferencing for iOS builds on the communication experiences of ShoreTel Mobility, adding in application collaboration capabilities. With conferencing solutions, users can use their iPad or iPhone to control or participate in presentations and easily share them with remote conference participants. ShoreTel’s solution additionally includes desktop sharing functionality, which facilitates collaboration.

ShoreTel Mobility and ShoreTel Conferencing for iOS offerings also have measures in place to assure security, including integrated VPN SSL encryption that is enabled automatically.

How Advanced Communication Technologies are Changing Business

Recent data suggests that the iPad’s emergence in the enterprise is changing the way that regular business is performed, the type of other technologies adopted and how businesses are communicating in the grand scheme of their operations.

IDG Connect’s recent “iPad for Business Survey 2012” examined the role of the iPad in the enterprise, finding that 12 percent of those polled indicated that the iPad has “completely replaced” their traditional laptop. In addition, 54 percent indicated that the tablet has “partly” replaced their laptop. This study demonstrates how enterprise iPad adoption is contributing to changing work habits, as nearly 75 percent of respondents admitted to carrying their laptop less often after obtaining an iPad.

The study included a number of other notable findings, including:

  • Web browsing is the most common use of the iPad, with 79 percent of business professionals indicating they “always” use the device for this purpose.
  • 76 percent always use their tablet for reading.
  • 73 percent use the tablet for news consumption.
  • 54 percent use the tablet for work communication.

Furthermore, 91 percent of all professionals owning an iPad surveyed indicated that they use the device at work, with 51 percent stating that they “always” use it in the office. However, the study also demonstrated one of the iPad’s main advantages- mobility- with 79 percent of IT professionals stating they “always” use their iPad devices when outside of their home.

As this study highlights, employees are expanding their iPad use to include a wide range of activities, making it a central component of today’s regular business operations. In order for businesses to truly take advantage of the technology, decision makers can equip and empower workers with tools like ShoreTel’s collaboration and unified communication solutions.

ShoreTel Dock
ShoreTel created the first enterprise-grade docking station that can be used to transform a user’s iPad and iPhone into a convenient and easy-to-use desk phone. With the ShoreTel Dock, users are able to adapt their favorite handheld devices into powerful business desk phones and enterprise collaboration tools. An employee’s iPhone or iPad can click into the ShoreTel Dock to provide the user with instant access to the many advantages of a business desk phone such as comfortable use, renewed battery life and high-quality calls.

“ShoreTel is the only unified communications provider delivering a solution that truly optimizes how end-users communicate for work,” said Pejman Roshan, vice president of product management at ShoreTel. “We didn’t try to change or replace devices users already love, but instead enabled those same devices with enterprise UC to give end-users a dynamic productivity tool that supports their own work rhythm.”

The ShoreTel Dock can be particularly useful for providing the communications capabilities that today’s workers need. It features a rotating armature that allows users to easily view their device in either landscape or portrait mode. Users also do not need to manually open an application on the device in order to use it, and a call can be easily placed or answered by simply picking up the handset.

“We’ve seen widespread endorsement of BYOD initiatives across the board,” said Michael Finneran, principal at dBrn Associates, in a statement. “ShoreTel’s focus for making mobile applications easy to use could lead to higher user adoption.”

With ShoreTel’s offerings for optimal iPad use, businesses can feel comfortable supporting a BYOD policy to drive effective communications and enhance productivity.

Sources

ShoreTel. Brilliantly simple business communications.

ShoreTel, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOR) is a leading provider of brilliantly simple IP phone systems and unified communications solutions powering today’s always-on workforce. Its flexible communications solutions for on-premises, cloud and hybrid environments eliminate complexity, reduce costs and improve productivity.

The overall tablet market, led by the iPad, has witnessed rapid growth over the last few years.

91 percent of all professionals owning an iPad surveyed indiciated that they use the device at work.

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