Tablets are becoming increasingly popular, from the iPad to the extremely newsworthy but ultimately failed HP Touchpad. Something about holding those little flat devices and touching them with your fingers has captured the attention of people all over the world. Amazon’s recent announcement of its Kindle Fire tablet into the market will only further ignite the flames of the tablet craze.
For all its appeal, some people are finding it hard to justify actually using tablets. Nearly everyone has a computer and a phone, but convincing people that they need a third device is something tablet manufacturers have not yet overcome. Those who have tablets mostly have them because they want them rather than need them. Nevertheless, businesses and other organizations may be able to find professional uses for tablets that will actually make their industries more efficient.
1. Medical forms
Filling out medical forms is a real pain. When patients go to the doctor’s office or the hospital, they or their loved ones are inevitably handed a clip board and a pen. With tablets hospitals would be able to automate portions of the form process by scanning licenses, reading to patients with visual impairments, and giving patients a much more simplified touch interface with “yes” and “no” buttons. The downside to using touch screens in a hospital is hundreds of sick people will be touching and handling the tablets, but they invariably do the same with clipboards and pens.
2. Painting and Photo Editing
Artists can find plenty of uses for tablets, especially if they create digital images or edit photos. Adobe and other companies have developed apps for the iPad, for example, that allow them to mix colors with their fingers or apply other image editing controls to the iPad, while leaving others on the computer. For photo editing, a tablet is something photographers can take just about anywhere and essentially have a photo-developing studio in the palms of their hands.
3. Media control device
Businesses invariably have meetings, some big and some small. In either case, presentations are a big part of those meetings. Remotes are popular for basic presentations, but if the presenter wants to do anything more advanced than flipping through slides, he or she usually has to return to mouse clicking. Imagine a tablet, on the other hand, that can wirelessly project the images or information that the presenter manipulates.
4. Restaurant menus
Tablets would likely have to come down in price for restaurants to consider digitizing their menus, but the possibilities here would be very impressive. Imagine scrolling through the virtual menu and actually seeing video of the food steaming hot on a plate, being prepared, or even being eaten by an attractive person. Menus could be interactive experiences rather than just pictures with words. Moreover, a restaurant that frequently changes its menus will no longer have to reprint them. All they have to do is change the information in a database and resync the tablets. In the long term, it would save a great deal of money and time.
5. E-magazines and journals
The magazine industry may or may not be heading down the tubes, depending on who you ask, but there is little doubt that technology will have an effect on the way people read in the coming years. As e-book readers become more cost-effective, particularly for libraries, we may see more of them opt for tablets to replace physical magazines and journals. Most already have digital databases for journals, but a tablet will make reading them and navigating through them a much more pleasant experience. For magazines, tablets can provide color interfaces that most e-book readers cannot, allowing users to still flip through the color pages and enjoy them.
6. Educational tools
As with any new technology, cost is always a concern for schools, but if schools can find ways to effectively implement tablets into the classroom, they will save a bundle on paper and textbooks. A class with a set of tablets can share website experiences together, read digital textbooks, and play interactive educational games.
As with any technology, a tablet is only a tool. Just because a business or school purchases tablets does not mean they will make those organizations any better. It is up to those who plan and make decisions to implement technology in a way that is beneficial to the organization. These and other professional uses for tablets are areas tablet manufacturers and app developers can target and find ways to make implementation easier and more productive.