Tablets: Take 'em or leave 'em?

By Brett Anderson

St. Croix Advisors

Tablets are all the rage lately. You can’t get on a plane, head to your local coffee shop, or even hang out at the beach without spotting a tablet, with iPads leading the pack. Whether or not you bought into the trend, it appears that tablets are here to stay.

Even if you currently own a tablet, you may not be aware of the vast array of practical business uses a tablet allots. From incorporating a tablet into your client presentations to turning it into a mobile cash register, your tablet could be just the ticket to increasing productivity, both in and out of the office.

Client presentations: Not only can you turn your tablet into a useful presentation tool by loading the presentation onto the tablet and allowing it to play for your client audience, but you can also turn it into a valuable interactive and immediate way to “close the deal” by giving clients a way to fill out electronic forms and information requests automatically.

Additionally, if you have Internet access (through your portable mobile hot spot), you can use your tablet to process credit card payments and pull up any website (including your own) to answer questions, allay client fears about credibility and prove online information availability right there.

Trade shows and networking events: Need to grab information from multiple people? Why not have them fill out the form or enter the drawing electronically with tablets? This is not only quick and user friendly, but also eliminates the cost and time associated with the data entry step. Additionally, tablets may be mounted as part of a trade show display to stream a presentation for your audience.

Further, most newer tablets have built-in cameras that allow you to take a picture of business cards and, with the correct app, you can automatically compile and organize the information into your electronic Rolodex.

Travel: A light and streamlined alternative to your laptop, your tablet may provide just the functionality you need for a shorter trip or even the ability to remote access into your home or work computer.

The fun stuff: Not only can your tablet revolutionize the way you do business, but it can also enhance your favorite hobbies. From watching TV/movies and reading (books, magazines, and more) to “playing” a rock instrument and fun games, or even keeping the kids occupied, your tablet can handle it all. A portable cookbook, an easy way to check emails, browse the Internet and stay social, your tablet loves to multi-task as much as you do.

Additionally, with the the right app, you can even turn your tablet into a second monitor for a fraction of the price.

Despite all of their benefits, tablets are not for everyone. If you are looking for a tool to complete text input intensive activities (lots of typing), need high resolution for image quality or will be working on activities that require lots of go-between among multiple applications, a tablet may not be for you. However, if you require none of the above in a mobile device and were beyond excited about all of the ways you could use a tablet that we shared, then by all means, begin exploring your new toy.