Gartner, an IT research and advisory firm, predicted that tablet sales will surpass combined laptop and desktop sales by 2015. This means that in just two years, much more people will own a tablet and use it as their primary device. So if you want your organization to keep up with the quick evolution of technology, now is the best time to transition your board to paperless meetings, which can be facilitated through a digital board book that’s accessible on tablets.
But as the CIO or CTO of your organization, you have to think for the long-term when deciding what kind of technology to implement for business use. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to invest in tablets if there’s a chance that they would go the way of netbooks. Thus, here’s the pressing question: Are tablets going to stick around for a while?
To find the answer, you need to take a quick look at why the netbook failed to maintain its place in the market. Netbook sales quickly declined since 2012, compelling companies like Dell, Acer and Asus to stop manufacturing them altogether.
Perhaps the biggest reason why the netbook lost its momentum is that it doesn’t really fill a specific need anymore. In 2007, it started out as a laptop replacement with its price and portability as major selling points. But soon after, advanced netbook models operating on Windows turned out to be almost as expensive as regular laptops which people opted for instead. Next, thin laptops – often referred to as ultrabooks – were introduced in the market. Ultrabooks are light and easy to carry yet have powerful systems, something netbooks don’t have. Then, in 2010, Apple released the iPad and took portability to the next level. The netbook ended up somewhere in limbo with no clear-cut role to play. In a span of three years, hype and the demand for netbooks died down.
But the tablet isn’t like the netbook. For one, it’s generally not considered a laptop replacement. Its functions complement – and not compete with – the laptop. It’s to be a portable device that serves as a computer-on-the-go when one is out and about. Perhaps the tablet’s biggest competition is the smartphone, but its smaller screen can’t compete with the tablet when it comes to playing games, reading ebooks, watching movies, and browsing the Internet.
The tablet is also becoming more affordable. Although costlier iPads dominated the tablet market when they were first introduced, subsequent cheaper alternatives such as Samsung Galaxy Tab, Amazon Kindle Fire, Google Nexus 7, etc., have given people more options to match their budgets. With more competitors eager to get a slice of the market, you can expect tablets to have even lower prices in the near future.
Best of all, the tablet can be as useful and entertaining as you want it to be, depending on the apps you add to it. In your free time, you can use it as an ebook reader, a handheld game console, or a small movie screen. At work, you can use it as a productivity tool to help you with your tasks, such as attending board meetings. Apps like BoardVantage, BoardBooks, BoardPad, or Convene are board portal solutions that allow board members and other participants to remotely collaborate with each other in real time.
Convene, in particular, handles the entire meeting workflow from scheduling a meeting, inviting attendees, preparing documents, making presentations, recording important points, listing action items and decisions, to archiving all materials. It gives all participants plenty of flexibility in many ways: They can review board packs anytime, update their documents whenever necessary, join an online meeting from abroad, share notes with each other instantly, among other things.
The tablet is a crucial addition to the workplace because enhances functionality and delivers information quickly, enabling people to make better and timelier business decisions. And when it comes to decisions, boards make the biggest ones for their respective organizations.
So, should you equip your board with tablets? The answer is yes if you don’t want your organization to miss out on improved efficiency and lag behind its counterparts. According to Ted Schadler, a VP and principal Analyst for Forrester Research, the U.S. workplace would be using tens of millions of tablets by 2015.
There’s no way to guarantee that the tablet will last for a long time when technology changes so quickly, but it seems the odds are in its favor.