A girl walks into a bar. She receives a 30-page menu detailing her cocktail choices. She looks through it for 20 minutes, can’t remember which one she liked, and just orders a gin and tonic.
Small to mid-sized businesses may have never considered purchasing a tablet PC (namely the iPad), but I am here to tell you they should! Tablets can solve many organizational and operations problems, like in the scenario above.
I’ve been observing problem areas for awhile and have come up with my own list of tablet uses. To be more clear; it’s not simply the electronic device that solves problems, it is all about a well-designed, user-friendly application.
I’ve seen this used in a tiny one-room jam company. An iPad POS application replaced a complicated cash register. They had a USB attachment for card swiping too!
2) Menus and ordering
In the into scenario (which is a real local restaurant) they could have replaced their 30-page menus with an app that generates drink choices by category selected: type of mixer, type of alcohol, calories etc. The patron basically narrows down their perfect drink without looking through the 200 other offerings. And possibly customers can send their orders to the kitchen with one touch?
3) Shipping and Tracking
Any businesses that do a lot of shipping or delivering could use an application that keeps track of it all.
Use a tablet to take inventory, and the data is on the same device you use for reporting.
5) Document storage
Imagine an office without the massive filing cabinets. Also imagine being able to access all of those files from wherever you are.
Argos is a home goods store in which the customer selects a product from the row of catalog stations, instead of a showroom. http://www.argos.co.uk They have to print and distribute new catalogs each quarter. Why not change the catalog stand into an iPad station and skip the paper wasting?
7) Office Controls
Thermostat, security, lights, music
8) Meeting Collaboration
An easier way to transfer presentations, data, and take notes
9) Remote Participation
Conference call applications can replace expensive conferencing systems. Providing employees with tablets for online wiki collaboration is less expensive than brand new laptops.
Deposit checks immediately and keep a closer eye on budgets.
The whole office can sync their schedules, and keep it with them at all times.
12) Coupon and Discount Management
Manage promotion schedule and scan-able electronic coupons on the same device.
These are just a few of the ways tablet PCs can consolidate business operations. It’s a popular topic right now, and you can read more in many places. Inc. magazine had an article ‘Six Smart Businesses Uses for the iPad’, and this interactive agency in Portland is diving into innovative mobile applications for businesses. I’m excited to see more local businesses embrace tablets in the near future.