Tablet sales may have steadied over recent years, but according to industry experts corporate tablet use defies the slowing trend.
From 2017 until 2021, Technavio tips the “enterprise tablet” market will record compound annual growth revenue of 9% as large organisations, government bodies and small to medium business all embrace the mobility, convenience and customer service advantages that tablets afford.
In simple terms that means more and more businesses are looking to tablets for daily use. If you’re amongst them, here the top features to consider in the search.
A desktop replacement?
Over the past few years tablets have come on in leaps and strides in terms of the reliability they offer, while the Cloud has enabled a new, effective way to store data without requiring a large hard drive. This has partly attributed to the tablet’s popularity but there still remains a gap between a budget and high-end option.
When seeking a tablet for business you are looking for an option that packs enough punch to handle required tasks efficiently and effectively depending on your industry.
For designers that may include having enough RAM to run hefty applications, while in hospitality it’s the speed to run an mPOS app and relay orders to the kitchen.
In many cases this means a garden-variety device might not be enough, with the more spec-laden features of higher-end models like the iPad Pro, Microsoft Surface Pro and Galaxy Tab Pro S more likely to hit the mark.
However, if all you're looking for is a device that runs a single app to provide customers with information, or undertake simple tasks, a lower-spec but quality model will likely suffice.
Type of use
In many ways tablet choice will come down to what you’re looking to achieve. Office workers employing a tablet to work on-the-go will likely require features like compatible keyboards and a stylus.
But for hospitality, information kiosks and customer service access points, tablet choice comes down to intuition and often the operating system you already use. It also comes down to available apps.
If you’re looking to roll out mobile Point of Sale, double check what operating systems your preferred application caters to.
Other features to consider might include water resistance if this is a tablet to be used in the kitchen or field.
Operating system and hardware
If you’re already running a specific operating system then you’ll need to ensure your tablet is compatible with others already employed.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to add extra hardware like barcode scanners, cash drawers or card readers, double check that the tablet you’re considering has the capability to communicate with these add-ons.
In some scenarios you may need physical ports, while in others compatible hardware will rely on Bluetooth or wireless communication.
Battery life may not matter so much in operations where you have ready or permanent access to an electricity supply, but it will be critical to operators using their device in the field or on-the-go.
This includes the hospitality industry where the device may be used as a mobile ordering pad.
Also consider how you intend to recharge at the end of the day. Will you need extra devices just in case one runs out of steam?
Replacement time frame
All technology has a life cycle, and this needs to be factored into your costs. If you’re rolling out tablets in your business, you need to account for the cost of upgrades, replacements and loss.
On that note, what security will you have installed to shut down or locate a missing device, or protect sensitive information?
Protection and set-up
While we’re talking security, how will you secure your device against damage and theft? Even in the office tablets are subjected to a fair amount of wear and tear.
Meanwhile a kitchen, information kiosk or busy counter top all pose hazards for your intricately assembled device. And how will you physically position or set up your tablet so it’s easy to access and use.
Protective cases, secure stands and wall mounts should all be considered as you assess the type of tablets you will use and where and how you will use them.
Tablets are not just gaining popularity because they’re a nifty little device. For many operators they’re improving business efficiency, promoting mobility, and allowing new ways to interact with clientele.
For business operators looking to utilise them, seeking out the right option involves establishing your criteria, investigating the market, and considering what will work best for you.