The rain has finally stopped in Boston. In March alone, we have gotten about half the rain fall we typically get the entire year. I was actually watching the nightly news from France 2 (a good way for me to keep up my French) last night and saw how there had also been recently some heavy rain falls in various regions in France. It's good to see there's no global warming.
While wonderng if I should build my own Ark, I was thinking about some recent conversations I had with people about this coming Saturday. You do know what happens Saturday, don't you? Of course you do...the Apple iPad will become available in the United States.
Many people seem excited. Four people I know have told me they'll either be in line or have already pre-ordered one. In fact, one person has pre-ordered two. I was also asked via the Twitter-sphere what applications I thought would become most successful on the iPad from an enterprise mobility perspective. This is interesting, given a recent news story that discussed how some preliminary research showed that consumers were least interested in reading books as opposed to browsing the web or reading/responding to emails. While I usually don't take "requests,' I've decided to make an exception today because I think it's an interesting question. So here are just a couple of areas where I think the iPad could have great success in the enterprise:
- Electronic medical records. This one to me is almost a no-brainer. Apple is all about great visuals. Imagine your favorite character on Grey's Anatomy walking around the hospital with a white slab (the costume designers will be happy that it will match their lab coats) and then flicking and pinching their fingers on the touch screen to be able to see x-rays, lab tests, MRIs, etc. All joking aside, I can very easily see where this would provide great value.
- Retail point of sale. Another dirty little secret that Apple doesn't want you to know is that when the Apple Stores first opened, the employees walked around the stores taking your credit cards on Symbol devices. That's right. The folks from One Infinite Loop were using Windows Mobile devices. Don't you just love the irony? Since then, Apple has switched them over to iPod Touches. It would make perfect sense to give those employees the latest version of the iPod Touch....uhm I mean the iPad. Again, nice large screen, finger friendly. Let the shopping begin.
- Wall Street. Yes, you read that correctly. Whether you're looking to sell orange juice futures (kudos if you get that reference) or any other commodity, I could also see a scenario where the iPad would be useful for stock trading.
Now mind you, these three examples are places where the iPad will NOT cannibalize into laptop sales. I could also see scenarios in fleet service, hospitality, and insurance adjustment (just to name a few) where the iPad could displace laptops. But as per a previous post, what amazes me is the hype that Apple has been able to create around the iPad. Tablet/Slab PCs are NOT new!!! Yet, if you believe the Reality Distortion Field, iPad pre-orders were well above expectations.
But let's get back to the three examples I provided where Tablet/Slab PCs could see an interesting uptake. These three industries are all heavily regulated. HIPAA, FIPS, JCAHO (a.k.a. The Joint Commission), PCI DSS and FINRA are just some of the acronyms used on a daily basis in these sectors. The scenarios I listed above will need to ensure that they comply with these and other regulations. This is something that will be required regardless of which Tablet/Slab you choose.
I am excited to see the buzz the iPad is creating, and I think of it more in terms of the notion that the rising tide raises all ships. The iPad will in all likelihood be a success - I know, big shocker (maybe I should become an analyst....ha ha ha). However, it will need to be managed, secured and ensure regulatory compliance to be able to be used in key vertical industries that could best use the platform. My sense is that other tablet manufacturers should be as excited as I am to see the tide rise.