The fact that tablet adoption is on the rise may seem like old news to the tech-savvy, but the fact that the market has grown at such a rapid pace is still somewhat surprising as compared with the adoption rate of other technologies. We thought it might be interesting to take a quick look at how tablet adoption is expected to impact different workplace-related industry segments.
Promoting Productivity in the Enterprise
According to a 2012 Infinite Research report, over the next five years enterprise tablet purchases are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48 percent. That translates to 96.3 million units sold in 2016—a dramatic jump from the 13.6 million units sold last year. This swift uptake in tablet adoption promises opportunities for wireless operators, equipment manufacturers, software developers as well as cloud and content providers.
A survey of 1,750 organizations in the U.S., UK, France, Germany, China, India and Brazil, representing more than 10 industries, showed a surprising trend. According to the report Enterprise Mobility Market 2012 & Beyond released by Strategy Analytics in May, most organizations plan to buy more Android-based tablets than iOS-based devices in the next year. This news, combined with the fact that Windows 8 promises to offer the same user experience across all devices (and reduces headaches for IT), could signal a chink in Apple’s armor.
Government Uptake on Tablets
Government represents a different kind of enterprise, but public sector employees want and need the same productivity-enhancing tools seen in the private sector.
Mobility is so much on the rise that even the slow-moving federal government has developed a mobile strategy. In a January blog post, Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel encouraged the government to go mobile. “To fundamentally change the way we do things in government, we need to seize on this mobile opportunity both in how we serve the public and in how government employees work,” he said.
Federal agencies, whether reacting to VanRoekel’s call or simply looking for ways to cut spending, are expected to nearly triple federal mobile tablet use according to a new report, “Mobile Powered Government,” which discusses results from a survey sent to 152 federal CIOs and IT managers.
One of the survey’s key findings is that federal IT professionals expressed favorable attitudes toward mobile devices, believing a mobile workforce is more productive. They “doubt that federal agencies can be productive without PC alternatives such as laptops, smartphones and tablets.”
The report further predicts that tablet use among federal workers will increase from 7 percent today to 19 percent in 2013. This means they will need to add approximately 533,000 tablets and 355,000 smartphones in the next two years.
However, these same IT professionals are also wary of the security and device-management implications that come with a mobile workforce. A “significant barrier” to implementing a multi-device environment is having the IT personnel to support it. Other barriers reported include managing the diversity of personal mobile devices and platforms (39 percent), budget constraints (38 percent), and technical support (30 percent).
Fostering Digital Literacy in Education
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski and Education Secretary Arne Duncan met with publishing and technology leaders to discuss digital literacy in March. According to the FCC, the U.S. spends approximately $7 billion per year on textbooks. The FCC also believes that tossing textbooks and replacing them with tablets could save schools $250 per student per year.
According to the latest survey of K-12 educators by Project Tomorrow (PDF), 26 percent of teachers have access to tablet computers, but the higher-ups are adopting them even faster. About 55 percent of administrators and 47 percent of principals have tablet access.
Tablets can provide many benefits in education—interactivity, ease of use, portability and use of digital content. We’ve written several posts on the value of tablets in education here in this blog as well.
If you’ve made it to this blog, you’re probably already using—or thinking about purchasing—tablets for your work or school environment. What do you see as the future of tablets in the workplace? We invite your comments below.
Gartner predicts that 80% of businesses will support a tablet-toting workforce by 2013. Are you ready? Get a better grasp of how your IT organization can empower knowledge workers, increase the efficiency of remote customer service teams, and enable field sales professionals to deepen customer relationships in this practical guide to tablets in the workplace.