Tom Butler, a Director at Lenovo’s ThinkPad division, told the Tablet Strategy West audience that what he called BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) is here to stay. But he also noted that while IT departments may be feeling pressure from users to let them use their personal devices, the decision to allow personally-owned iPads and other tablets into the organization may also be driven by budgetary concerns.
“What we’re seeing is that tablets are a challenge for many businesses,” said Butler. “They have a budget for ‘a’ device, but not necessarily a notebook ‘and’ a tablet. That’s opened up opportunities.”
What Butler is referring to are the new generation of hybrid tablets and convertibles from Lenovo and others that function both as a tablet and notebook with a full keyboard.
While Lenovo offers both RT and Windows 8 tablets, he pointed specifically to Windows 8 models as necessary to replace a commercial desktop or notebook in part because, unlike RT, Windows 8 will run legacy Windows applications.
But it also needs a few more components, at least for certain customers, such as a wireless keyboard and mouse, docking station to connect to an external hard drive and larger monitor.
“We’ve met with one Fortune 500 customer deploying this kind of device, starting with a smaller tablet,” said Butler. “Right now it’s in more of a pilot phase, not a large scale deployment.”
Education, Healthcare and the Multi-user advantage
Butler also sees great potential for Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets to appeal to certain vertical industries like education and healthcare, particularly because of one feature the iPad doesn’t offer — multi-user sign-in that lets more than one user share the device with specific access to their own files.
“You may have a station or a stand where you can login to get the information you need and log back out,” said Butler. “I can definitely see this happening in healthcare and in education where, for example, schools have a computer lab.”
The next Tablet Strategy conference is April 30 in New York.