I recently wrote on my blog about the broadband malfunctioning in my ASUS Vivo tablet. Asus repaired the tablet and sent it back. In the three weeks while the Asus was away, I didn’t miss it. Granted I have an iPad and Microsoft Surface, but I had considered the Asus Vivo to be my favorite device of the three. The fact that I didn’t miss it started me thinking about what the value of the tablet computer really is.
Everyone is talking about how a tablets app store has this application or doesn’t have that application, but in the end the apps just make the tablet easier to use and ultimately do the same thing a website does. Evidenced by the fact the tablet device needs a persistent Internet connection to be useful the way a PC does. What does anyone actually do with a tablet and why do we really need them? And how do we know it’s not just a fad?
While in London, I visited an electronics store to look at the different models Europe has compared to the US, and a lady was looking at an iPad. She said out loud “I really want one of these.” I thought it was curious. Why does someone want one of these? Does she want it for a specific app or does she want it for the convenience? I find myself using my tablets as a mobile access device, keeping me connected to work as I always have it with me. A person with a tablet is more connected socially and corporately. How do we take advantage of this?
It’s quite clear that tablets are not just a fad, and devices that incorporate touch are friendlier and will be around to stay as the personal access device of choice for most people. What we need to do is come up with creative ways to use the tablet to assist people in accomplishing their daily tasks in a manner that’s easier to do than with the traditional PC.
Take expenses for an example, as a corporate employee you have to keep track of your expenses when you travel. Scanning receipts and entering them into some tracking system. While this is something that takes about an hour or so to accomplish on a PC, doing it on a tablet the same way, it could take longer. We can provide value by using an app that makes the process simplified.
An example of this would be to use the camera to take a picture of the receipt, use the GPS coordinates of the device to possibly identify where the expense was created and automatically update the expense system or at least batch upload them when you have and Internet connection. The app that comes with the Neat Receipts Scanner can already do OCR on the receipt to determine if it was paid with a credit card, determine the name of the shop and the amount paid. The Neat Receipts app itself is great if you have multiple receipts, but is cumbersome to use if you just have one receipt to enter at a time. Imagine if you use that technology to get the data from the receipt just by taking a picture of it with your tablet or phone. How much time would that save?
Are there other ideas along the same lines that we could use to save people time during the course of their normal business day? As industry leaders, we have to realize that people need to be productive and the solutions we provide need to create real value and time savings to the people owning and using them.