Corporate IT, consider yourself warned: You'll be dealing with the iPad in your enterprise, whether or not you want to. And it won't just be the iPad; tablets and slates of all sorts are on their way in as well, as Android, WebOS, and Windows Compact Embedded 7 devices begin shipping in 2011. That's one of the findings from a survey of 1,100 enterprise employees polled by mobile management vendor iPass in a report released today.
According to survey results, 16.3 percent of mobile employees already have an iPad or tablet PC device, and another 33.2 percent planned to purchase or receive one in the next six months. A surprising 59.8 percent of those planned to use it for significant amounts of work, while 30.8 percent said they would use it for mostly personal reasons but also for some work. (It's a good thing that the forthcoming iOS 4 for iPad offers corporate-level security capabilities that third-party management tools can tap into.) A surprisingly small percentage said the iPad would go toward personal use only.
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Here's the breakdown of intended iPad and tablet usage:
|Mostly work, some personal||15.1%|
|Equal work and personal||40.3%|
|Mostly personal, some work||31.2%|
Although Apple has never positioned the iPad as a work device, and it certainly has limits in business settings today, users seem to be noticing the business potential for themselves, as are some forward-thinking business and IT leaders. In my ongoing informal conversations with vendors and IT managers, I keep hearing about the fascination many have with using the iPad at work across a wide range of industries: financial services, retail, hospitals, and all manner of field forces.
A couple examples: Intercontinental Hotel Group is piloting the use of iPads by its concierges at some hotels, so they're not tethered to a computer to help guests find directions and book services. And the D7 Consulting construction firm has given its onsite managers iPads to access construction drawings and othert support materials in the field.