Businesses are increasingly using tablets such as the iPad. This technology can be used in many ways to great effect, and can dispense with the need to carry a cumbersome laptop around. Even including the tablet cases, they weigh much less.
Email is perhaps the most basic need when out of the office, and the iPad can connect to POP servers, Exchange servers, and to IMAP-based servers. Communication via social media such as Facebook and Twitter is easy as is creating or contributing to a blog or wiki. All are good ways to engage customers. iMessage is a free tool which can be used to contact anyone who is using an iPad, iPhone, Mac, or iPod. Skype enables you to speak with anyone for free.
Priority Matrix provides you with an electronic “to-do” list where you can manage the items, lists, projects and other plans. Smartsheet is another application for use in managing projects when on the move.
There are various apps available to create presentations on the iPad. Keynote is perhaps the most powerful. Other apps include Power Presenter, which enables you to project a PDF version of a presentation via a VGA cable.
The iPad makes it easy for the user to make notes when attending a conference or meeting using iNotes, This also has a dictation feature and can be saved to the cloud and accessed from anywhere. The Corkulous app allows you to create, organise and share your ideas. iThoughtsHD is a mind-mapping tool available for the iPad.
Graphs, Charts and Diagrams
Numbers is a spreadsheet application, and EasyChart HD enables you to create simple graphs. Analytics HD enables you to create charts and reports which can then be shared in a meeting or at a conference. OmniGraphSketcher quickly creates detailed charts. OmniGraffle enables you to create diagrams and process charts. The Instaviz app enables you to sketch rough shapes and lines, which are then turned into professional-looking diagrams.
Pages is a good word-processing application. Dropbox enables you to use the cloud to store files, which can easily be amended or shared. SugarSync is another popular similar application.
The free GoToMeeting app enables you to attend online meetings and view presentations, spreadsheets and reports – anything that the meeting organiser chooses to share with the audience. MightyMeeting stores presentations in the cloud and they can be accessed via the iPad to email, add to social media and to start or join online web meetings. WebEx also enables you to join an online meeting. iMeetingPad is another useful app which can enhance meetings or presentations with the addition of sound.
iPad’s Safari browser enables you to access the web. You can use it to add web pages of interest to your Reading List so that you can consult them later, even when offline. You can put a shortcut on your home screen, email a link to colleague or print using AirPrint. Tablets permit you to communicate with your contacts and customers from virtually anywhere, and so are particularly useful when you are on the go. They allow you to continue working when out and about, making otherwise 'dead' time productive, and enable you to stay in touch and keep up to date.
What do you think of using Apple's iPad's as a business tool?