by Rob Banker
I’ve heard (I don’t know where, so I could be making it up) that conventional wisdom says that iPads are consumption devices. ”Buy one for your Granny so she can surf the web and answer the occasional email”.
On the surface, I see that. Tablets like the iPad (got one, love it), Samsung Galaxy Tab (got one, love it) and others (don’t have one) make great limited purpose devices for web surfing or reading email. That doesn’t mean, however, that they are simple devices meant strictly for content consumption. Any pundit saying so is short-sighted or getting kickbacks from a desktop PC maker (you know who you are, Thurrott).
The iPad (or specifically iOS) and Samsung Galaxy Tab (or specifically Android), are operating systems. What that means specifically is that they were not designed to be used as is. They’re designed to be extended. And that’s what developers are doing.
I’ll focus specifically on the iPad and just talk about a few of the apps I use for content creation. Apple provides Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. They’re directly analogous to MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and equally as useful (arguably) as their Microsoft counterparts. As an example, I recently wrote a 70 page software manual for DMI’s EDMS system on the iPad using Pages. It was similar to writing a document in MS Word, if not better. While Pages is a fully functional word processor, it eschews the bloat of systems like Word and let me focus on the task at hand while still giving me ability to use styles and graphics. When it was time to distribute the document, it exported directly to a PDF. When I needed to share the document internally, it exported to MS Word (almost — the incompatibilities were minor) perfectly. I’m sure that begs the question — why not just write it in Word? Well, with 20 hours of battery life and less than a pound, sitting in a coffee shop and working on the document was liberating.
There’s plenty of other tools… Try OmniGraffle by the OmniGroup (www.omnigroup.com). It’s a great diagramming tool and design tool. I use a program called Sketchy for creating software UI designs and it integrates directly with Balsamiq (www.balsamiq.com) for the desktop, another great software design tool. Another tool for project and task management, OmniFocus (also from OmniGroup) is my constant companion for keeping track of everything that goes on in IT @ DMI and it syncs realtime with OmniFocus Desktop and iPhone.
Try the plethora of photo editing, social networking, and blogging (www.tumblr.com) out there, too. Yes, Facebook and Twitter can be creative. Try following @hotdogsladies or @lonelysandwich on Twitter (they can get a bit saucy. You were warned). You’ll see what I mean.
All of the above doesn’t even begin to cover the possibilities for creating the apps you need for your business. DMI is actively working with CUs on vertical applications for loan origination, branch kiosks, and image capture. Depending upon the need, apps can be created quickly to serve any purpose you can think of.
Don’t believe the hype. Tablet computing is a new wave in computing. It won’t replace the laptop, but it will force laptop makers to reconsider how they build laptops and how they’re marketed. Apple already took a page out of it’s own playbook and updated the Macbook Air (got one) as a powerful but small computing device with the ability to run all full-scale applications anyone could need. Tablet computing will force application developers to think about how they create applications. Tablets discourage bloatware, one of the leading problems with PC computing now.
Be sure to contact DigitalMailer about the possibilities for both mobile and vertical applications available and possible for your organization. If it can be built as a desktop app tied to a desktop, it can probably be built as an app that allows your employees mobility away from the desk and the freedom to engage members face-to-face.
Rob Banker is the EVP/CIO of DigitalMailer, Inc. To learn more about everything DigitalMailer’s technology can do for your business or financial institution, call us at 866-994-4900 ext. 115 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.