If you’re ready to be an “early adopter” using tablets in your business, you’re too late!
Businesses around the world are already using iPads and other tablets in all kinds of ways. Small businesses, medium-size businesses and enterprises are on board, and integration is 70% or higher in some industries, which is remarkable considering Apple only launched the iPad in April 2010. Wells Fargo, for example, took two years to support the iPhone but only a few weeks to approve the iPad.
Tablets have clearly leapt onto the business scene and once Microsoft launches Windows 8 for tablets in 2012, watch out! The post-PC era will likely inspire even the most skeptical holdouts.
Here are eight innovative and efficient ways businesses are putting tablets to work right now:
1. Creating custom apps: From dashboards to business systems to training programs to intake procedures, custom apps are easier and more engaging to use while they streamline processes.
2. Running credit cards: By snapping a credit card reader into the tablet’s charging port, businesses can process transactions anywhere.
3. Updating customer databases: Businesses of all kinds are getting rid of their front counters and gathering data from visitors, attendees and guests in a more personal way. People can also enter their own information — just hand them the tablet.
4. Letting customers place orders themselves: Restaurant patrons are ordering their own drinks and food when they’re ready, signaling their human waiter and easily searching even the most extensive wine list (no printing out necessary).
5. Taking inventory: Or doing anything else employees used to do with a clipboard. No paper, no pens, no double data entry.
6. Guiding prospects through presentations: Viewing an on-screen slide deck or one that’s projected using a VGA or HDMI adapter can make a big impression. Interactivity can be built in.
7. Attending Web conferences: Using apps like WebEx or GoToMeeting is easy and ultra-flexible.
8. Creating online catalogs: For optimized viewing of an entire line of products, either online or in stores, tablets allow a more comprehensive understanding of what businesses have to offer.
Which tablet might be right for your business? Hop online and check out some market leaders: iPad, Motorola Xoom, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Samsung Galaxy Tab, BlackBerry Playbook, HP Touchpad and Sony Tablet S. And keep your eye on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire, a new $199 consumer product that may have handy business uses down the road.