Why tablets are just getting started in enterprise

August 6, 2013
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Following just days after IDG Global Solutions predicted that one in three tablet-owning workers now use their slate for business purposes, Forrester Researcher took it one step further by suggesting that tablets are ready to finally be let loose more broadly in the workplace.

In the latest tablet forecast report, the firm took the unusual step of moving away from just reporting on how tablets are used by North American consumers, and instead broadened its horizon to see how tablets are used globally and in the business environment.

Not that this diluted the firm's staggering figures into consumer usage, however.  Forrester has forecast that 60% of North American online consumers will own a tablet in 2017, with this down to 42% in Europe and significantly lower in developing regions.

Adding to this, the company believes that these figures will push the installed base of tablets to an incredible 905 million, meaning that they will be used by one in eight people on earth. For some context, an earlier report from Strategy Analytics indicated that tablets would reach one in ten people by 2016.

The research firm has claimed that total worldwide tablet sales (not shipments) will total a healthy 381 million by the end of the forecast period, but significantly added that 18% of these will be enterprise purchases.

However, contrary to earlier reports of enterprise demand being fuelled solely by the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, Forrester analyst JP Gownder stressed that some companies will continue to deploy their own tablets, presumably in the hope of achieving more control over data and general security.

“Tablets, we find, will play an increasingly critical role at work. Both company-issued and bring-your-own tablets will become pervasive in workplaces in developing countries or dynamic regions of developing countries (for example, urban China),” said Gownder.

The analyst added that some employees will be “willing to pay some or all of the cost” of their device and envisions that tablets will be used for very particular use cases in certain verticals.

For example, the researcher believes that nurses could use them for showing X-Ray results or perhaps, as TabTimes has documented, for communicating with some patients.

The research firm believes that tablets like Apple's iPad will start to filter down to specific teams of workers, and not just boardroom staff and senior execs, but sees a future where bigger devices become more popular.

Citing multi-user devices like Lenovo's Horizon and Dell’s XPS 18, Forrester claims that demand will surge for bigger tablets and for collaboration apps like MindMeld from Expect Labs.

(Interested in finding out how your business can get ahead with tablets? Sign up to attend the TabletBiz conference & expo in New York on November 13, 2013).

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