Accelerating "consumer" technology adoption in "hardened" environments
The consumerization of IT affects the military just as much as it does other businesses. Certainly, PCs made the transition into the military, but iPad adoption -- a year after its release, it's a key part of ongoing warfare systems -- is remarkably fast. And there's no reason other tablets couldn't be used in the way the iPad is, Delay notes; it had a year's head start on its competitors, so companies like Harris took advantage of its existence. In fact, the U.S. Army is looking to adapt Android smartphones for soldiers' use.
One reason I believe the iPad found itself so quickly in tatical battlefield use is that Apple intentionally designed the tablet to work in a wide range of environments, short-circuiting the usual slower transition of consumer-grade technology into "hardened" environments like hospitals, police cars, factory floors, and battlefields. And the FAA recently certified iPads for use in airliner cockpits to replace paper manuals. Although Apple's public face is about the consumer, its army of engineers and designers have visited most large companies to get feedback on the iPad's design (hardware and software), and Apple has a unit dedicated to aiding government -- including military -- use of its products in Virginia.
Uncle Sam is looking at using app stores -- maybe businesses should, too
Beyond the iPad, the military is looking at another Apple-inspired trend that many businesses are hoping won't happen: the app store. Delay says that all branches of the armed services are looking at how to deploy app stores for use by their civilian and military personnel for iPads, Androids, and more.
My suspicion: The military sees a benefit to having a central, network-accessible location for application distribution to people anywhere there's an Internet connection. Perhaps businesses should start thinking about this benefit as well and reassess the model of the centralized system image.
This article, "The iPad goes to war," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.