Media tablets next big purchase for business: IDC

Following its BYOD (bring your own device) Web conference earlier this week, Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd.  released a study projecting the increased proliferation of media tablets for the enterprise.

Krista Napier, senior analyst of Canadian digital media and emerging technology at IDC Canada, wrote the paper and said that, while there’s “a lot of testing and trialing and exploration that’s happening within Canadian businesses in 2011, we expect to see more of a rollout happening next year.”

Napier also said that businesses that would rather ignore the trend will have to face it regardless, as BYOD is becoming a bigger and bigger phenomenon. “It’s this whole trend towards consumerization and we started to see it with smart phones, but with media tablets, we’ve really seen it pick up speed (this year),” Napier said.

It’s not just smart phones that business people are bringing to the office these days. Napier says employees want personalized devices that have divergent app capabilities, even if their employers are more tentative.

Napier said “one CTO put it really well; ‘it’s like I’ve got a hammer and I’m trying to find some nails,’ the nails being the apps.”  She said “what a lot of them are (realizing is) it’s apps that’s going to drive them moving forward, drive their usage and value but (businesses are) not really sure what ones they need, if they already exist somewhere or if they need to have them custom built.”

Security is another hold up for widespread media tablet adoption. If businesses fail to account for media tablets in their IT policy, she said “you’re opening up pandora’s box with all these security issues that can happen because people will bring them in (anyways) and put company information on them and then you run the risk of leakage and stolen or lost information.”

Napier also thinks that the wireless market will see a shift because of the increased media tablet adoption rate. “We only saw data plans coming out that were optimized for (consumers) that have media tablets and multiple devices towards the end of last year,” she said.

A recent study by New York-based Allied Business Intelligence (ABI) Research Inc. supports this and, according to it, the revenues from enterprise mobile broadband, for phones, computers and media tablets will reach US$36 billion worldwide. The study said that the growing proliferation of media tablets will be one of the main channels to push this boost.

Napier said that the type of device businesses decide to adopt varies wildly based on need and policy. Some have been opting for more enterprise-focused, business optimized tablets like the Blackberry Playbook and the android-based Cisco Cius, while others, like a hospital in Ottawa she spoke to, has bought a fleet of iPad 2 devices for its nurses.

She said there is room to secure even the most consumer-based tablets through purpose-built apps. “Even if you have a device that doesn’t necessarily have those security features inherent in it … there are other companies out there that can help secure those and manage all those devices, it’s just one more step,” she said.

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