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What Is iPad's Role In Cloud Computing?

What Is iPad's Role In Cloud Computing?


The iPad has certainly increased awareness and popularity of tablet computing, but where does it fit into the real of virtual office technology and cloud computing? Is it a “one size fits all” solution to field sales and service companies?


It's always interesting to see new technologies emerge on the market. As a techno-geek, I'm always amazed at the electronic wizardry of new products like iPads and tablet computers. That being said, I'm also fascinated to see how they fit in with “cloud computing” and the whole scope of unified communications and messaging.


When it comes to the Virtual Office and the mobile workforce, it would seem that the iPad would be a must-have device for professionals in field sales and service. However, the iPad will have to stand up to some durability issues: they are NOT made to be inertially slammed out of the passenger seat into the floorboard of your car on a fast stop—or worse—a collision with another vehicle.


What does this mean for the mobile work force? Some will argue that the iPad is going to find its way into the hands of the mobile workforce anyway, and will have a tremendous impact on virtual office and unified communications. Others will argue that mobile workers, such as sales professionals will need something more rugged. Overall, it is my contention that the iPad will certainly bring more awareness to the tablet industry and will only increase the production of competitor's models based on the popularity of the form factor.


What Are Some of The Other Possible Industries Where The iPad Can Be Used?

I've given this some thought, and debated this in forums with other techno-geeks, and we came up with a short list:


  • Web developers,

  • Real estate agents, brokers and investors,

  • Mortgage companies and banks,

  • Finance companies,

  • Insurance agents and brokers,

  • Direct Marketing, Internet Marketing, and Multi Level Marketing sales professionals

  • Virtual office, cloud computing, and unified communications

These are all but a few ideas that were kicked around, but in reality, the uses are only limited by one's imagination and the needs of your work force.


Is the iPad—or any other tablet computer for that matter—the ultimate field-worker device?


Years ago many thought the Palm Pilot was: but as it turned out the PDA was soon replaced the Blackberry, which is also experiencing strong competition from the iPhone and Android.


There are lots of arguments that can be made either way, but here are some interesting points to take into consideration:


  1. What will be the availability of applications for the iPad in the future?

  2. Will applications and their development be driven by consumer or business needs—or both?

  3. Is the sky the limit in terms of tablet computing in the cloud?


iPads and Tablet Computers Are Here To Stay


As with iPhones, Blackberrys and Droids, it is my estimation that the iPad and tablet computing has firmly entrenched itself into the mobile workforce early on. As a fan of the iPad and tablet computing, I would say that—while the iPad is not the ultimate device—it is here to stay. While the “buzz” about the iPad has brought an increased awareness on the market potential of tablet computers, it is not always going to be the perfect fit when it comes to durability issues.


If you and your work force can treat it with relative care and attention, and not treat it like a battlefield combat device, it should provide lots of durable service to you and your firm. If you—or your work force—tends to be a little rough on their equipment, then you may want to consider opting for something with a little more heft, like the Panasonic Toughbook. While the iPad might not be sufficiently rugged enough for hostile environments, it may serve field sales, service and supervisors just fine.


So, who is right? Personally, I like both the iPad and Panasonic's Toughbook and a variety of other durable tablet computer models. Buying the iPad or another table model depends on research done on your needs and the needs of your workforce. I think we've only seen the tip of the iceberg in the realm of tablet computing and how to integrate them into the unified communications and virtual office schema.


Who knows: maybe Apple will come out with a rugged version of the iPad? Call it something like the iMax... just a thought.


Ernest O'Dell is the Director of Unified Communications at Questar TeleCommunications is an authorized independent agency for iTeleCenter.


Their primary focus is educating the various industries about implementing Unified Communications, Messaging, Mobile Collaboration, Virtual Office and PBX systems.


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