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Doug's Mailbag: iPads in the Enterprise, Part One

Here's just a few of the ton of responses we've gotten from those sharing their workplace iPad stories:

So this is the first time I am actually responding to one of your write-ups. We have deployed 14 iPads (we're a pretty small community bank in Maine with about 75 employees) starting in December and finished up the roll out in early January. All members of our board of trustees and executive management team have one to use for several different things: First is we have gone totally paperless with our board reports, which is saving money and time with regards to the printing and snail mailing of them. We are using a great app called Goodreader that allows the board members to search for certain keywords, highlight sections, insert notes and create bookmarks as to where the note is. I think over time this will be a much more efficient way for them to read the reports and organize their thoughts on things. Our board is made up of members of the various communities we serve so it has a very interesting cross section of folks on it. I will say it was very satisfying for me to see them all sitting at the board room table with their iPads out in January for the first official paperless meeting.

The president of the bank has also started having some of us on the management side read books from the iBook app. This has created a much different way to read than our traditional way of reading. It's a neat experience when video is inserted into the book, and you can actually hear the author talking about what he or she was thinking when a particular section of the book was written. It creates a much more interesting connection with the author. Don't get me wrong -- I still thoroughly enjoy having a paper book in my hand to read, especially while sitting on a beach (during vacation of course) with my favorite beverage of choice. But for business-based books which can sometimes be as dry as a desert, it provides an interesting way to keep the reader interested.

We are currently working on our plans for the next six to 12 months of what to do next with these devices. I have no doubt that they are here for the long term and will make us a much more efficient organization with our toys (oops I mean tools).

We're just getting them into our organization. Or I should say, users are beginning to bring them in to work.

We currently allow them to connect to our Exchange server to get e-mail, but that's about it. We have some users that access a few Citrix-published applications, and I've run a XenDesktop on my iPad from time to time. Right now we're trying to implement an easier way to connect users to Citrix applications for use out in the field. What's nice about this is that all the data is in our network and never on the device that you know will get lost or stolen.

Here at the college I work for, in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, we were all PC. Even the few Macs that one of my departments received as a donation are running Windows under Bootcamp. That is until the iPads started showing up. Now people use their iPads for work a lot. The e-mail and calendaring functions are incredible, the Exchange calendars look so much better on the iPads than in Outlook that people keep their iPads on their desks with the calendar open all the time.

Lately, we have been using our iPads to get into SharePoint for remote access to our desktops. I can use it to remote into any of my computers or servers I support.

I can answer a call while I am in the food court having lunch! That rocks! Even though I had to purchase my own iPad (the school only provided them to the associate deans) I am so not switching to Droid! I already have over $100 invested in apps, and I will want to transfer them to the new iPad when I get it next Friday. Yes, I will be in line next Friday at 5 p.m. to get our family's second iPad. Now our two daughters (5 and 7 year old) will not need to take turns any more (unless my husband and I need to play at the same time).

Yes, it is the most useful and enjoyable gaming console we ever had. And we have a Wii, a PS3, a PSP, a few different Game Boy systems and even a couple of IPod Touches. Games are cheap enough to be able to afford a new one every week or so.

Also, my kids use them as an educational tool to practice spelling, sight words and math.

Another thing we really enjoy doing with the iPad is Geocaching! It makes us go and play outside every weekend as a family. We discovered so many new places in our neighborhood that we never knew existed.

On long family trips, no tiny GPS compares to the GPS maps on the iPad. It also makes it easy to research hotels, hiking trails, anything.

Yes, we love our iPad and can't wait to get the IPad 2, not necessarily for the cameras but more for the option to connect it to our plasma and to play games together.

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Posted by Doug Barney on 03/07/2011 at 1:18 PM


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